Reality Check: The Stories We Tell

When you roll out of bed in the morning, do you tell yourself, “Today is going to be an amazing day!”? Or is your first thought closer to, “Ugghh. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this day.”
Some folks let the weather dictate their morning story. If it’s sunny and beautiful, there’s optimism and happiness while a nasty rain and wind prompts an expectation of a miserable day.
Other folks go with curiosity, “I wonder how this day will go.”
We could perceive those morning thoughts as a “story” that we tell ourselves about the day to come.
In reality, some days bring challenges. However, there could also be pleasant surprises, successes, warmth, and love.
Do the stories that we tell ourselves, and others, have an effect on what ultimately happens? If you’ve been reading these columns regularly, you probably already know my opinion. What’s yours?
If we start in gloom, feeling defeated, and then a setback occurs, it can feel like the universe is ganging up on us. Why bother forging on? Why bother trying to do anything? Why bother if no one cares?
However, when we set out with energy and optimism, we are in a better position to handle the challenges that pop up. If we add a focus on appreciation and gratitude for our gifts—the people in our lives, safety, freedom, even the work we do, then we are better able to recognize additional good things when they occur.
While our own stories matter to us, they can also make a difference to others. People who hear our stories may be influenced by them.
Seasoned citizens, among many others who have been through all sorts of challenges: war, poverty, conflict and danger, have compelling stories to offer.
A story that says, “Yes, it was tough. But we overcame it with hard work, belief in what we were doing, through persistence and by helping each other” sends quite a different message than, “Yes, it was tough. And it’s somebody else’s fault. If it hadn’t been for them, I would be much better off than I am. I resent that. I’ll never forgive them and they owe me.”
Both stories can be true. Different perspectives on the same facts can be true. However, when you are choosing your story, which is most helpful—for you and for the person hearing it?
It both chills and saddens me to hear some of the stories being told. Messages of doom, apocalypse, and disaster inundate some areas of discussion.
Those stories may have a particular impact on our younger folks. Without the benefit of years of perspective, it’s easy for them to mistakenly believe that this is the first time in human history that bleak stories of the future are being told.
It’s in the story of today where we have the most direct control. I can do one good thing for someone today. I can take one action toward a larger purpose. I can bring myself one step closer to my goals.
The stories we tell ourselves and others can uplift or drag down. Is there a bright future, full of promise? Or are we doomed to fear, despair and conflict?

This entry was posted in Choosing Perspective and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.