Today’s Thought: That to which we attach our focus can hold us hostage. The stories we spin about who we are and our place in the world shape and define our lives, and impact how we engage with the story of Others.
We are each the hero of our own chapter, in the book of humankind. We ink that story with every moment of our lives, with every action and inaction alike. Too we play supporting roles in the story of Others. When two stories collide, they can be as twin suns lighting up the skies, or cast dark shadows of doubt across one another’s worlds.
Consciously shaping the traits and actions of our hero, we define life itself. Embrace this power, and create life extraordinary. Fail to do so, and you become hostage to your own tale.
Are you telling the story of a hero or victim? Are you acting accordingly, or telling yourself one story while your actions show another? Each heartbeat of attention you devote to your story strengthens it. Do you tell a story that you are “sick” or “tired” regularly? Soon you will be so all the time – our mind cannot determine the difference between reality and fantasy, be cautious what you feed it.
It’s imperative that we be highly selective in who we invite to play supporting roles, whether you are weaving a romantic comedy or horror story. Your supporting characters go a long way in the life you are scripting – select wisely, and cut as often as necessary. If we cast a player whose story is at odds with our own, we shall weave nothing but discord. I have learned this the hard way, take heed!
Here, an illustration:
Our hero is an independent soul who has proven he possesses an understanding of the path to success, time and again. His story is deeply embedded, except with a twist: he has a co-creator, a heroine, the love of his life, his perfect Other, who matches him measure-for-measure. Together they take on the world, successfully meeting any and every challenge, even bending time and challenging death, need be.
In this ‘us against the world’ story-line, there isn’t much room for others – in fact, an ‘us against the world’ story almost assumes the entire world one’s enemy. However, this soul has a cast of supporting characters deeply invested in his ‘well-being.’ They perform many well-intentioned tasks designed to help our hero – genuine assistance that many would appreciate. Their story is tied to being ‘good’ and ‘taking care of things’ – a story they believe everyone can appreciate and will, of course, be grateful for. The drive behind this story line is their aching desire to feel needed and appreciated by our hero. They want to feel important to him, to secure their role in his story. Yet, the more they help, the more their actions are dismissed or resented. In turn, they view our hero as ‘crazy’ and ‘unappreciative’ for rejecting the salvation they provide – how else will he make it? They have to believe their actions are needed, and he will fail without them – it is the only belief that will validate their need to be needed.
However, the trick here is this: If our hero accepts the help of any but his Other, his story comes undone. It will invalidate all he has lived by, as it will disrupt the organizing principle by which he has lived his life. No longer is it he and his heroine taking on the world. Rather, he would be made weak, someone in need of rescue.
His refusal to accept the help of his supporting cast leaves these players lost, uncertain what to do. They are invested in solving the problems, as this is how they believe they will earn love and approval. The attachment of each party to their story is actually ensuring that they will create discord. For our hero, his story will be further validated: It truly will feel like the world is against him, that others are trying to take control – he will be more likely to close others out. The supporting case will be further validated in their sense that it is hopeless, they can never do enough to earn the validation and appreciation they seek.
What is the solution? For the hero, if he values the role the players hold in his life, he needs to find a way to make them feel appreciated without their needing to rescue him. For the players, they need to understand that respect and trust in our hero’s abilities are what will bring them far closer to the appreciation they crave than attempts at control or help ever will. There can be a happy outcome, if each player understands their role, and steps back from threatening one another’s story. Mutual respect for one another’s story, without the need to interject your own line into their’s is key to bridging such troubled waters.
Alternately, one can opt to re-examine their story. Is this the most empowering tale they can tell? Has it gotten old, is it based on information that has shifted or changed? May it be time to edit your story a little? We have that power, let us be sure to exercise it. Many become Spellbound by their story, perhaps to something in childhood that is no longer true. Perhaps they remember a moment of disempowerment when little – if they didn’t do such and such they would be punished. Grown, they fail to act at times, still in fear of some kind of punishment, forgetting that now grown, no one can force them to do something against their will.
Failing to edit their story to reflect their present reality, they are responding as if still a child. Adjusting course and re-writing rules could rocket them straight into a joy and contentment. You would be surprised at how fast things shift when you adapt your story-line to fit the life you live today.
Ensure you haven’t become Spellbound by your own story.
For Today: Examine your story. Is it reflecting who you are today? Are you writing a tale of power or victimization? Who are your supporting characters? Have you chosen wisely or is it time to re-cast some roles? Start thinking about the tale your life is telling from a pro-active position. It is entirely in your hands to make it amazing – all it takes is a shift in perspective.
Create amazing. Make it so.