Coldplay’s wings represent that what helps us move forward in life, build success and take off is depicted by the story of our lives, the story of our wings.
The question I pose is, where does your story fit into your life? Does the story of your past help you rise up or does it get in your way and keep you down? This exploration will help you unpackage your story to assess whether your version is supporting you in your life build.
We all have a story rolling around in our head. The question is whether your story fuels your present and gives you the freedom to live your life peacefully and energetically, OR is your story, an old, raggedy blankie that is distracting, holding you back in the past and interfering with your Why and potential progress? [reference to earlier blog post: What’s Your Why?]
Regardless, your story has value. Not only to yourself and your family, but to others who may be inspired by your experiences, ideas and perspective on life. That is, of course, if you want to share it.
Whether you want to keep your story private or share it with the world, unpacking your story and assessing whether it benefits you or is actually working against you is a valuable exercise.
Side benefit? A re-write to your story can enhance your life experience and provide brand-spanking new perspectives to get you out of your rut and onto the road you’re actually meant to travel.
For example, if you feel a bit stuck and uncertain about direction, or if you sometimes get trapped in negative self-chatter [that voice in your head that sometimes just won’t shut up], or if you feel the world [your boss, a co-worker, a friend, or even your spouse] is never on your side, go get a pad of paper or turn on your computer. It’s time for a little digging expedition.
Some of us get so entrenched in our story that we need outside support [think therapist] to help open our eyes to an alternate, possibly more realistic, explanation. Or you can start writing…
For example, if a parent, caregiver or sibling told you that you’re not very good at a particular activity, then depending on your constitution, this message got downloaded into your brain and voila. You have a new memory and a new mindset that you are not good at that activity. Whether you are or aren’t good at it isn’t really the issue. Perhaps if you had a chance to learn that activity, study it, perfect it, etc., you very well could have become proficient. The point really is that an influential and persuasive voice [your caregiver] created a negative memory experience in you. Your inability to distinguish the ‘truth’ or reality of the statement was beyond your maturity so that memory became imbedded in your identity. You never gave yourself a chance to overcome that powerful voice because you simply didn’t have the tools to do so. And as a result, that memory experience evolved into a story that may be expressing itself in a way that today is not serving your larger interests.
Some downloaded experiences are simply a result of aligned [or mis-aligned] stars. Your emotional interpretation of events and resulting conclusion may just be off target, and there was no neutral voice in your sphere of influence, no re-direct to a more reasonable, explanation. The bottom line is that a pattern of thinking emerged that eventually became the tracks for all other thoughts to follow. ‘It happened this way before, so it makes sense it will be that way again.’
Have you considered that perhaps some of your obstacles, may be the thoughts and stories you’ve been having in your head for a long, long time? And that these tracks that have been laid may really have been mis-laid, mis-wired?
Is it possible these thoughts and stories may need a reevaluation, a redraft or an update?
It’s time to spend some time [re-]writing your story.
Start with your earliest happy memories. Work your way to the not-such-good ones. They all deserve writing attention. This process can take time so let it unfold at the pace that feels right. Regardless of the outcome, the idea behind this exercise is for you to think about whether some of the self chatter you have is helping you or hurting you in your plans for your present and your future.
If that self chatter is constantly negative with ‘I can’t do that; I’ll be no good at it.’ or ‘I’ll never be able to go back to school. I don’t know how to do things,’ then dig deeper into the process by asking yourself how you came to think this way. Is this the kind of person your parent or caregiver was, and maybe, you’ve unintentionally adopted this mode of thought for yourself? Is this the kind of thinking your parent encouraged? Is some of your thinking wrapped up in your cultural context? For example, this is how my mom behaved in the old country, so I must think similarly.
I encourage you to spend time with some of these story thoughts and nudge the ones that are getting in the way of your moving forward. Whether you believe the thought or not, you will insert instead in our example – ‘I can do that. I’ll be good at it.’ Take that thought for a spin, see how it feels and continue to adopt this re-write for other self sabotaging thoughts.
This exercise requires time and dedication and change will not occur over night. You are literally laying new tracks for the thoughts in your head. You are building new synapses. Like a muscle that requires daily exercise, so too does the new thought pattern demand effort, commitment and follow through. You may even get push-back. Your brain doesn’t like this un-doing and may not want to embrace it. But you are stronger, you know better, and you know that your interpretation, your analysis, your old story is not serving you. It’s time to push through and push the push-back.
As you build your new line of thinking, you can begin to reinterpret those experiences, the ones that are most burdensome, troubling and distracting. And as you do so, your redefined, judgment-free story begins to take shape. Next, it’s time to take those thoughts, and that new story out for a walk. Then, a slow jog. With dedicated time and attention, you can begin to draw a new set of wings for yourself with your new story. You’re building this story for a new set of wings, wings that will spread, raise you up and reveal the true story of your life. And support the flight you want.
For those of you who don’t like to write, draw a large picture of wings. Version 1 and Version 2. On Version 1, draw out the experiences good & bad that have influenced you the most in terms of the person you are today. Version 2 is drawing out stories from a fresh perspective, with a new take on them, so that the outcome is a positive one. For example, if you were told ‘You’ll never be good at baking’ or ‘you are not good at [fill in] “, draw yourself with a baker’s apron holding a rolling pin with a giant smile on your face or draw a favorable expression of [fill in] because in Version 2, you get to decide what success means to you. Nobody else does.
As one of my favorite mentors has said ‘Everything is figureouteable.’ I believe this, and I believe that you can have the life that you eagerly want for yourself.
Please tell me one idea or image that you would like to add or rewrite to your wing story. I would love to hear from you below.
Be well, and be patient while you build a new set of wings. Rome, and your wings. Neither built in a day.