The Power of Story
Updated: Jul 31
My family has a story about me.
Everyone in our family knows it.
The story is that Marcy was a bad kid.
There are a handful of memories that are told to back this up.
No one means any harm in its retelling.
In fact, it’s often told with humor.
But those stories were not always humorous to me.
After hearing them repeatedly as a child, I internalized the belief, that I am bad.
And honestly, sometimes, my behavior could be interpreted by some as “bad.”
I could be very strong-willed, stubborn, and independent.
I had quite a temper and was a risk-taker.
I imagine that was very challenging for my parents.
But there is more to the story than is being told.
It’s also true that I was intelligent, funny, brave, kind, and so much more.
We are all so much more than the stories we tell.
We are whole people that cannot be defined by a particular characteristic.
Becoming aware of our stories is important because they determine how we feel and drive the way we live our lives.
When I believe I’m bad, I overcompensate to try and prove that I’m not.
I people please.
I try to fix.
I take responsibility for other people’s feelings and actions.
I put others before myself to an unhealthy degree.
I take on too much.
I don’t say no.
I don’t take care of myself.
I accept unacceptable behavior from others.
I exhaust myself with stress and overwhelm.
Most of the time, we aren’t consciously aware of our stories.
Noticing and being aware is the first and most important step.
Notice your stories.
Choose them carefully.
We all tell ourselves positive and negative stories.
Which ones are you spending the most time with?
How do they make you feel?
Are they serving you, or are they holding you back?
Are they serving your relationships? What other stories could also be true?
Be careful and aware of the stories you tell about yourself, your partner, your kids, and your life.
They have a powerful effect on us and others.
Once I was aware of the story that Marcy was a bad kid, and I noticed how it was driving how I show up in my life and my relationships, I did some work to heal.
Now I have a new story that I created with intention.
It’s a story that serves me, others, and the world.
My new story is that I was a kid who sometimes acted in ways my family thought were bad.
I am not and was never bad.
I was and am strong, independent, compassionate, and curious.
Sometimes I am selfish, grumpy, and bossy.
I am a whole, imperfect, complicated, wonderful person just like you.
Take some time today to ask yourself what stories you are replaying in your mind about you, your loved ones, your job, or the world that are holding you back from experiencing more passion, purpose, and peace.
At any moment you can decide to change it.
It’s just a story, after all. It’s all made up.