Words of Wisdom 010: On choosing our stories

Your life is full of stories. Your brain is wired to live them out. To the degree that you own your own stories determines the degree of freedom and hope you experience.

Everyone lives out their story, but most people don't get to the point where they are deeply aware of their story. It's best to know your story because what if you've been living out a tragedy and don't even know it? What if you'd like to live out a different story?

Incredibly, you can choose what story you tell yourself about a past, present, or future situation. It's easy to get stuck in a specific story about something, a story that isn't helpful.

If you avoid a traumatic part of your life, if you don't want to reflect on a painful experience or wound, you will get stuck in some way. Choose a shame-filled story about your life, and sadly you'll find plenty in life to prove that you are unworthy. It's a miserable way to live.

Choose a story that you need to perform to be loved, and you'll live that out with great determination, even being rewarded for it by others. But eventually, you'll come to realize that performing isn't a fulfilling foundation to build your life on.

Choose a hope-filled story that you are learning and growing, and you'll regularly embrace the inevitable challenges that come your way. You will see opportunity where others only see chaos.

You can't always determine what happens to you, but you can decide on the story you tell about it. Choose your stories carefully.

Whenever you feel stuck on a difficult decision and don't know which direction to head, ask yourself, "What would make a better story"?


"there is the necessity and blessing of telling our story to others."

Dan Allender, To Be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future

"The knowledge of how to build a nest in a bare tree, how to fly to the wintering place, how to perform the mating dance—all of this information is stored in the reservoirs of the bird's instinctual brain. But human beings, sensing how much flexibility they might need in meeting new situations, decided to store this sort of knowledge outside the instinctual system; they stored it in stories. Stories, then—fairy stories, legends, myths, hearth stories—amount to a reservoir where we keep new ways of responding that we can adopt when the conventional and current ways wear out."

Robert Bly, Iron John: A book about Men


What story am I telling myself about this situation?

What would make a better story?


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Live wisely,


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