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You are a Master Storyteller

2012 January 23
by Marquita Herald

The most important story you will ever tell about yourself is the story you tell to yourself.

Whether you realize it or not, you are a master storyteller. You tell stories that explain where you’ve been and where you’re going, who you are and who you are becoming … you have stories about your day at work, about you as a father or mother, about the jerk who cut you off in traffic, how you lost your keys or found a $20 bill.

The details of our stories and how we spin them largely determine how we see our lives, and as a result influence our experience of living. Whether it’s a painful family drama, a tragedy or a comedic farce – the choice is all in how we frame our story.

Our stories have a way of taking on a life of their own.

As adults we become skilled at revisiting old story patterns …“I’ve always been a…Everyone in our family is…I’ve never been really good at…My whole entire life…” As comforting and familiar, perhaps even funny as these stories may be, they can also become severely limiting because regardless of how accurate they may be we believe them and told often enough they have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.

We have to have a version of our own story that we keep telling ourselves that allows us to get up in the morning. This version of yourself is what you sell to yourself. I think it necessarily includes…not looking at certain things. Everybody’s got some blind spot. ~Steven Soderbergh, Academy Award Winning Film Director

How to change a story that isn’t working for you …

Is there an important area in your life that isn’t working? It doesn’t need to be a big or especially difficult problem; just something you’d like to improve even in a small way will give you the opportunity to practice and experience how to change a story.

Here’s a hint: The old story is the stuff you tell you tell yourself that isn’t necessarily true but has a negative effect on what your life looks and feels like. For example, “I’m not pretty, or funny enough,” or “I will never have enough money,” or “nobody likes me.”

This dysfunctional story is usually something that is repeated endlessly to anyone who is willing to listen. Now, realize that this is all made up! None of it is true, unless you make it true. You create your own reality. You are in charge of your story, so why not tell a story that makes you feel good instead of one that makes you feel bad?

Amazingly, self-edited stories do have the power to persuade us to think differently about our lives. In fact people have been known to rewrite entire personal histories, turning a nearly idyllic childhood into a wasteland of injustice and pain, or choosing to ignore former hardship and retain only those stories that inspire and uplift them.

We are all creators. We are creating our lives in every moment. Why not choose to tell stories that serve you instead of hinder you. Tell stories that create a future that you can smile and be happy about. Live in a way that creates peace, joy and abundance. You are after all in charge of your story, and the story is your life.

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26 Responses
  1. March 2, 2012

    I place a lot of stock in whether or not a person is capable of telling an engaging, interesting story. I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself with people, including my girlfriend, whom are just fantastic and drawing you into even the most mundane of tales, INCLUDING stories about stale topics like lost car keys and forgotten car parking spaces.

    I feel that a lot of it comes from confidence within the story teller. You don’t have to have the best tale of all time, you’ve just got to have fun telling it. People grossly underestimate just how contageous ‘fun’ can be.

    This was a particuarly good read so I’ll safely assume that you must be a fairly competent story teller also then, Marty? :P
    Matt recently posted..Muslim Dating Site Quiz – Matchmaking Made EasyMy Profile

  2. Jason Homes
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    February 21, 2012

    God gave us the power of free will so we will be able to choose what we want and who we want to be.

  3. February 6, 2012

    This is a really clever analogy, and a really insightful way of looking at our everyday behavior! I like the message that each person is in control of their own story. I think some people often get discouraged too easily, without realizing they have the power to make changes. Thanks for sharing!

  4. January 30, 2012

    Great article Marquita. It reminds me of a “story” that I was a part of few years ago.

    A lady I know was diagnosed with breast cancer (she was my wife). When she was diagnosed, the cancer was already stage 4, which is the most advanced stage. Doctors gave her 6 months to live. In spite of this, the wonderful woman never missed an opportunity to smile and became the life the chemotherapy wards. Indeed, in the midst of all the pain, she would cheer everybody up by asking each and every one of the other ladies in treatment what their story would be IF they didn’t have cancer. It became an incredible event, not to the extent that people were looking forward to it, but if affected most in quite extraordinary fashion.

    So yes, by all means, tell your story, self edit all you must and spread your wings!
    Stevie recently posted..eHarmony Profiles: Pros and ConsMy Profile

  5. January 24, 2012

    Hi Marty, this is a wonderful post! I agree that we do create our lives and experiences at every moment. That is why we need to make sure we stay positive and tell only positive stories. Doing this will empower us to live a rich and fulfilling life. Thanks for sharing :)
    shelley alexander recently posted..Meyer Lemon Flax HummusMy Profile

  6. January 24, 2012

    Very timely Marty and I am very inspired upon reading your post. Thank you so much for always inspiring people.
    Herbert recently posted..Earn Additional Income Through Work-at-Home JobsMy Profile

  7. January 24, 2012

    I like that you have weaved in the stories that we tell ourself about who we are. Rewriting your story in a better life is something that helps people grow into the person that they want to become instead of being stuck in the story that other people, especially family members, think you should stay in.
    Joyce Edwards recently posted..911: My Adventure Into the Wonderful World of Western MedicineMy Profile

  8. January 24, 2012

    Great post, Marty! I know that I have been very careful about the phrase, “I just can’t do anything right.” I’m still having a little bit of trouble with, “I just can’t catch a break” when it seems like everything goes wrong all at once, but one victory at a time ;-)
    Steve Nicholas recently posted..Not a Two-Dimensional FigureMy Profile

  9. January 24, 2012

    Very inspirational thanks Marty. For sure we tell ourselves stories and it takes some time before we realize that we either lift or push down based on the stories that we both tell ourselves and others. I have seen a major shift in how my husband looks at me, because of the change in the stories I have been telling and living for myself! (for the better)
    Lynda Cromar recently posted..List Building In Network Marketing – I Learned The Hard Way To Build My Own MLM ListMy Profile

  10. January 24, 2012

    Excellent post!! I have an app on my iPhone to read each and everyday and often several times through the day.. it is the 4 agreements ( an a couple of others).. and talking to myself and keep it honest and loving is a great way to change the old story!
    Holly recently posted..Hooked Into Another Weight Loss Miracle?My Profile

  11. January 24, 2012

    Marty,

    You do this time and time again – nail it! It is so important to be the editor of our own thoughts. You give such good advice to alter this vicious circle of lies. The key is to notice when we do it and then replace the story with something that is more empowering. Turn off being automatic and turn on being intentional moment by moment.

    You are a gift to the blogging community!

    In clarity and success,
    RICK
    Rick Lelchuk recently posted..Because Life is More Than Just a Job!My Profile

  12. Mateo permalink
    January 24, 2012

    Life is short to worry too much. It is always good to think of only good things rather than feel sad all the time because of the bad memories. Telling yourself that everything is alright and that there are many things to thank for can help lift your mood and help you find new opportunities. Telling yourself constantly of the bad things that happened can only ruin your life more as you tend to pity yourself more.
    Mateo recently posted..How To Get A Girl To Like YouMy Profile

  13. January 23, 2012

    Your life story must be written, Marty.

    It’s instructive to your readers and other significant people in your life. It’s critical to your own self-identification and reflection on who you are.

    And as you most importantly suggest, the very process of editing of our life stories helps us not so much to reinvent ourselves, as to encounter ourselves at a deeper level than we may have before we became “authors”.
    David Merrill recently posted..Fan Page Buzz | Traffic Generation StrategyMy Profile

    • January 24, 2012

      Thanks for sharing your insights David – always appreciated. Re my story – very thoughtful comment, but you have no idea the extent I’ve gone through in my life to avoid doing just that. Would you believe, I was actually invited to appear on the Oprah show with other women who’d had similar experiences and I said thanks but no thanks. What a drama that turnout to be, though I have to admit it was pretty funny to see the furor created by my secretary when she ran like the wind to announce to the world that the Oprah show had called little old me.

  14. January 23, 2012

    Hi Marty!

    So true, we really can tell ourselves bad stories over and over again.

    The one that was always said of me “Carla is so clumsy”. Then I would always tell stories about how I broke things, hmmm kept reinforcing my own unwanted behavior.

    I have been working with this one for years and am much better now, but I do notice when I get tired it comes right back again, that “stinkin thinkin”.

    When I first became aware of this I would listen to how those around me talked and sometimes I would just cringe. When I attempted to explain to people what they were doing to themselves they would look at me like I was a fool. I am now much more selective about what I say to people when they are calling themselves down.

    A number of co-workers are now doing the self-editing and thankfully some of my family too. It makes such a big difference for everyone.

    • January 24, 2012

      Hey Carla, you know I think no matter how much self-confidence we manage to build over time, we all have occasions where in the dark we have those self-limiting beliefs … the bad stories. At least I know I sure do – but like you, I’ve learned to recognize them so I am much better able to work threw that stuff faster than when I was younger and FAR more insecure. Thanks for much for sharing!

  15. January 23, 2012

    As I’m trying to find and to improve myself, I could say that so far so good. I am doing great compared than before. Its simply because despite of the challenges I’ve been through, I still managed to be stronger.
    James recently posted..Lifecore R100 Commercial Rowing Machine ReviewMy Profile

  16. Kathryn Booth
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    January 23, 2012

    Marquita, this is a really inspiring and valuable post. It takes more courage and effort to examine our life and decide how to “stack” our story, but it’s such a worthwhile and empowering practice.
    I was talking to a colleague today about gratitude and he is studying research on the Pineal Gland in the brain that responds to our emotional state in a very beneficial way when we choose to experience gratitude, love, kindness and compassion.
    Choosing to tell a hopeful, grateful, kind story about ourselves creates healthy immune responses, makes better wrinkles and keeps us vibrant and engaged with life.
    Kathryn Booth recently posted..Are You Prepared for the Downside of Super Success? Part 1 – PersonalMy Profile

  17. January 23, 2012

    My goal is to leave a legacy for others to follow. But I can’t leave a legacy until I become what I intend to be. At this point I monitor my thoughts, catch them and stop them when they are not leading in the direction of my goals and dreams. I am surrounding myself with love and support and I am becoming the best me I can be. My focus is to live in the present with my mind on the future that I am creating now.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica
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  18. Marnie Byod permalink
    January 23, 2012

    I agree. We are the one who makes our life story and it depend upon to us on how are we direct it. We are all creators, we are all authors, we are all directors and we are all writers of our own life.
    Marnie Byod recently posted..Cabinet MakerMy Profile

  19. Steve Borgman
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    January 23, 2012

    Marty, I love the way you framed this post: with the picture of a beautiful book: Because that’s what our lives can be. Once we understand the essence of what you’re telling us, we can use the power of imagination to visualize what our life story can become. The best is yet unwritten!
    Steve Borgman recently posted..10 Acts of Kindness To Change the WorldMy Profile

  20. January 23, 2012

    Our own self is the only director and screenwriter of the script of our life, only when someone realize that he/she is responsible for his life and there is no one to blame except of him for every failure, he will succeed in life.

    What we believe of ourselves makes us what we are and if the story that we keep telling on ourselves is that there are so many obstacles and we can do nothing to change them we will never reach our dreams and goals…
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  21. January 23, 2012

    Marty,
    we all are sharing this truth you simply expose on this amazing blog of yours. We all are in total control shaping each day and all the activity within. Knowing this and doing something about it is the challenge.

    You give all your readers and myself the amazing steps to visualize the prior days activities and then believe in them. As the next day arrives and all is the same we visualized prior. We begin to understand the awesome power we have been blessed with. Being the creators of all that is to happen and has happen in our lives. This is the awakening that will manifest the greatness within each.

    Just remember with such power your required to gain self-controll. Ethical actions and empowering steps. Share those fantastic stories daily with others to empower them. Be the light and share the warmth.

    Marty, your one of our greatest visionaries and mentors. We love your empressive approach on each subject you share. You give a feeling of love and passion with each hidden lession given. Thanks Marty for caring.

    • January 23, 2012

      Thank you William, as always you are so very generous and kind with your inspiring comments! So glad you took the time to share your thoughts and found the article worthwhile!

  22. January 23, 2012

    Amen to that! I had a particularly abusive childhood, but I refuse to let them win by making it affect who I am today. Of course, I’m a product of my upbringing, but it’s possible to let negative example show you how NOT to be. I’ve chosen this path.
    Anne recently posted..Celebs With Body ConfidenceMy Profile

    • January 23, 2012

      I’m with you Anne! I can personally relate to your philosophy and couldn’t agree with you more – we may not have control what happens to us as children but we have control over how we choose to live our lives as adults! :-)

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