I can get too much into myself at times, especially when something terrible happens. Sometimes it happens to someone I’m not particularly fond of. It might be an acquaintance or even a well-known public personality. If I’m lucky, I’ll catch myself thinking it was probably deserved.
But when something bad happens to me, I invariably think I didn’t serve this.
Both these thoughts contradict my faith in the inherent goodness of people. I am my own worst storyteller of my personal narrative. I have blind spots, biases, and baggage, which block me from the freedom to see alternative options in my life.
With this freedom comes responsibility and the likely need for me to change. So I unconsciously prefer not to get started down that stressful road.
In my past, a supervisor reprimanded me for insubordination. I was outraged because I knew I was not that kind of person. I didn’t deserve that talking to or that implied label. My life’s narrative could have taken many different directions, but I chose to pause and do something different.
I looked at my story from another character’s point of view, in this case, the supervisor. How could he have even thought of such a thing? It became clearer what happened.
I had been insubordinate. But not thoughtlessly. I had ensured we were alone. I was careful to speak as respectfully as I could while disobeying the supervisor’s direction. I consciously tried to keep the level of my voice down and to pick my words carefully.
Although I was ultimately fired for my action, I did take the time to have the context from my perspective included in my file.
My story had an incredibly happy ending. I met with the head of the department the next day to thank him for the opportunity and to explain that there was a context that, although true, did not take into account the full background. The next day I picked up a revised dismissal letter that I was satisfied with.
Then to my surprise, he asked about my plans and, within a week, offered me a significant promotion within his department.
By editing my life story, using the eyes of another character, I could be free, take responsibility and change.
It doesn’t always work out. I was fortunate. Sometimes I can’t get to the other person’s view of my life. I’m human and can quit doing the hard work. When I don’t seek out others to help me write my story, I’m the poorer for it.
I encourage you to think of your own narrative – your own personal life’s journey. Are you repeating the perspective that “I don’t deserve this?” Is this storytelling helping you to get past the plot to a happier place?
Please give it a bit of a think about one of the storylines that you seem to repeat: Life isn’t fair, or why did they keep doing that to me, or I couldn’t help myself. Tell me about what you picked for yourself.
You might be surprised with a whole new storyline for yourself. Happy thinking.
My thanks to Ted Talks: How Changing Your Story can Change Your Life for inspiring this Blog.
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please email me or leave your comment. I really do read every one.
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My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.