A New Year has launched – the time of the year when there are high hopes and promises for things to be different ‘this year.’ Many create New Year resolutions with great intention and enthusiasm that often last only a few weeks before old habits creep back in and take over. We unconsciously fall back into our old familiar routines.
What makes this so? What stories are we telling ourselves? Whose story are we living? Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my journey through rewriting my story. My new story, guided my intentions and choices, is informed by my deeper understanding of my strengths. I can more powerfully live with intention and choices into my purpose.
Are you stuck in the past, repeating habits you hope, wish or dream of changing? Often we aim for personal growth but fail to use our past experiences to change how we move forward.
If you have ever worked with a colleague who tells the same old stories over and over, you understand how people can distort reality to suit their purposes. And yet, most of us do our own version of repetitive storytelling – the stories that we tell ourselves.
We form an identity of ourselves as team members, colleagues, or friends by telling personal stories about our past. We project the lessons we have learned onto our present situations and let our past influence our present reality. In doing this we affect our future.We can choose to question assumptions and learn to reframe reality and our stories. Click To Tweet
As a coach, I hear a lot of personal stories. Part of coaching is to question the assumptions and origins of stories and ideas behind one’s personal identity. It’s like holding a mirror up for people to see themselves more clearly.
The fact is, personal stories serve to protect our egos — it’s human nature. Our stories are not about what actually happened, but rather our perception of what happened or the stories others have told about us. Founded on real events, but more so on real emotions, they are stories that we have created based on how we interpreted or have been told things were back then.
Have you taken the time to evaluate your stories for how well they help you navigate the complexities of present day relationships and work teams? We hold on to the past because it is what we believe to be true. Then we try to figure out how we can do better the next time we are faced with the same emotions, repeating the story.
Strong emotions are retained by the brain as memories of events. Without strong emotions, we forget events quickly. So, we end up with many memories of anger, disappointment, shame, embarrassment, guilt, and revenge, which far outweigh our positive memories.
Holding on to such memories primes the brain to be alert and distrusting in the future for similar situations. With awareness of these strong emotions, we can choose to question assumptions and learn to reframe reality and our stories.
We can shift what we thought was our reality into a more substantial authentic story, one that promotes growth and success with our hopes, wishes, and dreams.