It’s been a big trend for the last year or two to sell products and services with stories. Painting a vivid picture for the client on what the product is and where it comes from. And how it will create a change in the consumers life. Media agencies are all about stories right now, social media is all about stories…
It’s because people are interested in them! Hearing a good story will trigger an emotional response in us and help us put things in to a context. The emotional response and the actual content of the story will help us glue it to the bigger picture of our life. How it fits in to everything else that is going on in our minds, relationships and the world.
Let me elaborate on the what I mean by stories...Stories are the add ons that we wrd situations, life events, people we meet and the persons we are. If I would ask you: Who are you? What is the story that will start unfolding?
As you know we live life forming thoughts, emotions and beliefs by choosing the ones that suit our earlier experiences and desires the best. If I learn as a kid to think that I can’t draw, I will focus on this point of view and look for evidence to support this (limiting) belief of my abilities. This may even turn out to support a story of me not being creative at all. This is a story that I will tell myself and others as well.
Story of me not being creative can be easily supported by others verbally and expressively. A friend might say that "yeah you really can’t draw and you’re not much of a singer either". As a result I may (without interrupting this story) end up with a firm view on our creative abilities that has a great influence on the concrete choices we make in our future. This kid will not study arts, maybe not even appreciate them and will choose a career in something totally different.
Other people's comments truly effect the way we look at ourselves. The story of myself. I spent ten years thing that I had a big butt (in a bad way), because a person I trusted had told me so. To change this story, and to stop covering my behind, I needed the help of my first real boyfriend.
We use our stories as a lense, as a way to interpret the world. And we all have a unique story behind us. This means that our own views and the stories we create may be very different of someone else's interpretation of the situation.
So the truth really is that most of our concrete life areas are built on stories. All of our relationships are built on stories. We actually live in a story that we have created for ourselves with the great influence of the society around us! How does this sound? Freaky? Natural?
Maybe this can be a huge possibility.
I love to give my clients (AND myself as well) a metaphor of ”being the lead actor and director of their own movie”. Because once you discover that you can change your life by changing the story you tell yourself and others, you regain your own power. You become the Creator of your life.
Some are afraid of this. Taking their lives into their own hands. It’s a huge frickin’ responsibility!! After you do that, there really is no blaming others. We also have conflicting stories inside us. They may stem from love, fear, reason or intuition. I want to share a situation I have had with my absolutely wonderful client.
She came to me with an anxious mind and physical symptoms she had towards her boyfriends communication and behavior. She felt like she was unable to trust him (for a number of reasons) and wanted to get rid of her anxiety and physical symptoms by getting a better control of her emotions. I’m not going to go into the details of this situation or the solutions, I just want you to see that in a hard situation, if you can identify a story you are telling, you can also influence it.
So below you can read the stories that were battling in my clients head, we gave these opposing views names, let’s call them here Jodie and Anna:
Jodie: I have met the man of my dreams. When we are together he makes me feel so loved. Our relationship and level of affection is perfect. It feels impossible to think I could ever find this connection with anyone else. It is one of a kind. And yes, I know that he isn't perfect. Even though he has lied to me and he sometimes drinks too much he has improved his behavior and communication. He is honest to me nowadays, because he has learned that he really could lose me. I am the love of his life. I have already invested so much (time and emotion) in this relationship that I want him as the father of my children despite the past mistakes. And yes he made a really big mistake by having another child with his ex. But to his defense they were on a holiday and I can understand how it happens as a mistake. He is living with his ex only because he is afraid of losing the children. I believe that he will grow in to a man who can leave his two children and come to live with me after the mother of his children finds a job. Then we can finally start our life together.
Anna: I am in love with this man despite the ruthless lying and cheating he has put me through. I have been "the other woman" for two years. I realize that letting him dictate the rules of the relationship, is making me ill. My distrust for him runs deep, and I can't understand why I still feel so strongly towards him. I know I deserve better, but I don't believe that I can find anything better. I’m scared of losing the love of my life after so much I have sacrificed for him. What will happen if I let him go? He can not get rid of the mother of his children without me. If I’m not there to reassure him of my love, he will stay. And this means that all the time and effort I have invested has been wasted. It means that he does not love me the way I love him. This thought is devastating. I thought that he lying to me about the pregnancy would be the last nail to the coffin, but somehow I find myself still wanting to be with him. Even though my affection is strong, I know that I can never trust him. I know that he will betray me again.
How do you feel reading these stories? What do you think about them?
They feel strong, right? We usually pick the story that makes us feel good and stay where we are. That is safe and that is comfortable.
There is no right or wrong in this. But there is always a choice. A choice to start creating a story that will bring us a more fulfilling happy life. What would you work on to move towards a more balanced situation? What are the stories, "the reality", that you tell yourself? Is there something that you can start shifting to make your life better?