The stories that tell us

Why do I think it’s important that we pay attention to the stories that tell us who we are, or the stories we tell ourselves? Because if we don’t notice the stories we’re in and begin to take charge of them ourselves, or find new ones that suit us better, then we remain controlled by other stories. We’re characters in them, but we’re not the authors. Someone or something else is narrating. Someone else is running the show, and we’re only playing a part.

I believe a lot of people, especially young people, are unhappy because they’re living inside a story that doesn’t suit them, and often they don’t even realize it. I grew up in a place and time in which one of the dominant stories was that boys should be tough and good at sports. I wasn’t. I didn’t enjoy competition and physical roughness. But the story said that’s how a boy should be, so I tried to be like that. It didn’t go well. Eventually I realized my interests and talents lay elsewhere. I found a new story. The story of the artist. The creative person. Like a lot of people who never felt that they fit in, that story suited me better. I don't know the ending of this story, and that's fine, too. It's an open-ended story that takes me to places I never imagined I might go.

More on this topic to come...

Image by T Wharton


Michael Burrows said...

My trouble is that I'm always doubting my story. Is this my story? What if my story is something else? Something better.

Thomas Wharton said...

I think the answer is to make it an open-ended story ... then it can always change.