I sit, staring out the window. Nothing has my interest until a thought flits across my mind like a sparrow from bush to shrub.
How did I get here?
It’s a question I ponder more than I should.
Sometimes I have the answer, and sometimes I don’t. But one thing is certain, my answer lies in the story I am telling myself at that moment.
Here = a place, a situation, a feeling, an experience, or a thought.
Stories shape us in ways that are often unacknowledged. Not that we don’t know they exist; we just fail to attribute where we are to the story itself. A story can lead to places—physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially—we may not have experienced otherwise. Places we may not have anticipated.
Some right, some wrong.
The places we are led to warrant our attention. They beg us to take a closer look at our steps, our thoughts, our words. And often, we rehearse to others and ruminate to ourselves these stories so much that they bring more of those experiences into our lives.
Some good, some bad.
The good needs us to be grateful, while the bad needs us to adjust. Both can bring more of the same onto our paths.
It all depends on how we look at them and move accordingly.
Is your story protecting you, guiding you, or destroying you?
“Some experiences are meant to be temporary; others are meant to be a new reality.”Julia.
As I take inventory over some of the stories I’ve rehearsed through the years, I can admit that I let them destroy me. For instance:
- A job injury led to a period of depression. Every time I told this story to myself and others, I felt more physical and emotional pain.
- When I was 17, a guy compared the complexion of my skin to a brown paper napkin, which led to me not liking my darker complexion.
- Not being heard by others and often misunderstood led to not listening to my own voice, not understanding myself, and not advocating for myself.
- Failing exams throughout school led to leaving community college after one semester because I barely graduated high school and believed I wouldn’t succeed at obtaining a college degree.
Those experiences were stained in my brain to where I wouldn’t see different for a long time. It took years of telling myself a different story so that I would have a different and new experience. Though my back still hurts at times, the injury and the circumstances around it are no longer a source of emotional pain. I now look at my skin complexion as beautiful. It’s mine and no one can make me see otherwise again. After learning how to affirm myself and spending a lot of time in introspection, it no longer matters to me if I’m not heard or understood by others. I know who I am and refuse to be consumed by how others respond to me, or their lack thereof. It took years before I went back to college. However, when I did, I made honor roll/dean’s list several times and graduated university with a 3.4 GPA.
What destroyed me at one point in time eventually empowered me later in life. Recognizing the patterns that led to disappointment and not obtaining my desired results inspired me to make different choices, to walk in a different direction.
Unfortunately, we remember the negative experiences and share the bad stories more than we talk about the good. It’s human nature.
What happened could’ve still happened. That door still might’ve closed. You still could’ve gotten your dream job. You still could’ve gotten married.
Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve is neither here nor there.
Who’s to say what life will look like.
What I will say is: If your story no longer resonates with who you are or who you want to be, it’s time to tell a new story.
If your story no longer represents where you are or where you want to be, stop telling that story.
Ultimately, the story you tell will lead you somewhere.
That’s ALL up to you.
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