Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stories We Tell Ourselves

I sort of envy people who don't live in their heads.

It's got to be such a beautiful and clean experience not to continually rehash life experiences.

Alas, I've learned that it is what it is, and I've always been a girl who can't help but analyze my world.  I'm rarely good at taking things at face value.  There must be something more.

And so it struck me when I recently attended a workshop for beginner runners.  The focus of the talk was how to enjoy your race experience.  One of the techniques that the speaker suggested was to develop a keen awareness of the stories that we tell ourselves. 

In the case of running, often what flows through the head is far more powerful than what the legs think they can or can not do.  So, if you're constantly visualizing what it will feel like to cross the finish line and telling yourself that you're steady, powerful, capable, and determined...the mantras eventually move into a story that plays out mile by mile until you've achieved the goal.

In the routine and rituals of daily living, we engage in the same story telling behaviors.  We tell ourselves tales about who we are and who we are not.  We feed our mind with messages of hope or doubt based upon who we believe ourselves to be....a contributing member of the team, a failure as a mother, a beautiful friend, a worthless fill in the blank.

As we all know, the best part of story telling is that you can change the direction of the tale at any time.  You can decide what will happen to the characters, how they will be transformed, the lessons learned, and ultimately what happens before you imprint the words, 'The End.'

So, what will your story be?  How do you talk to yourself?  What character are you playing?  Do you believe that you're worthy, capable of the kind of ending you want?

Because in the end, we are a compilation of our thoughts that either motivate us to act or to not.  Instead of staying in your head indefinitely, the power of staying keenly aware of your story is that you are the writer, actor, director, and producer of the outcome.

What will your ending look like?

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