Living Beyond Your Story
Your story unfolds over time. Things happen, and, without realizing it, you perceive these experiences through the lens of your story. Stories act like a filter—between what is actually happening and how you interpret what is happening. Like a pair of eyeglasses, your story determines how you see a particular situation. Labels like, “lucky,” “successful,” “failure,” or “abusive,” become attached to who you believe you are.
Want a glimpse of your own story?
Step back and recall some of the twists and turns your own life
has taken—a job layoff, a failed marriage, or challenges with
your health. Pick one, and ask yourself, “What is the story
that I’m telling myself about this situation?.”
(Hint: Since stories have a repetitive pattern, if you find yourself
complaining about something more than three times, odds are you’re
in your story!)
For example, losing your job could translate
into, “I never get a break, no matter how hard I try.” The
story around a failed relationship might be, “Women are all
alike; I can’t trust anyone.”
Why do you get attached to your stories?
Stories provide a sense of safety; if you can fit your present
experience into a box of what has happened to you before, you feel
like you have some control over the situation. Stories are also
a way to avoid dealing with painful feelings, and can seem to help
you make sense of difficult things that have happened in your life.
But as much as stories appear to be a convenient way to sort life
experiences, they are overwhelmingly problematic. Stories keep
you stuck and prevent you from seeing things as they really are.
As a result, your story stands in the way of discovering a solution
to what is challenging you. You end up having a relationship with
your story, rather than with life itself. Your days end up feeling
dried up and stale…the same damn thing over and over again!
So how do you get beyond your story?
Well, the first thing you need is a little bit of courage—and
the willingness to answer the question, “Who am I without
If you’re open to finding out, here are four simple questions
that can help get you started on your journey of discovery…
The next time you find yourself triggered by a situation, no matter
how minor, stop and take a breath. Then ask yourself:
What is the story that I am telling myself
about this present situation?
Acknowledge this as your story. Then ask yourself:
What are the facts—pure and simple?
Then based on the situation as it is now, ask yourself:
How would I like things to be?
What is a step I can take that would move me in the
direction of my goal?
At first, it may feel radical to live beyond your story. But
the rewards…a life that is fresh, exciting and new in every
moment, is more than worth the effort!
Until next time…
NOTE: Some of you may have received this newsletter twice this
quarter, for that I apologize. MarinaLombardo.com was moved to
much more secure servers and has had to make some adjustments to
the way we send the newsletter. In so doing we had to send a second
mailing to make sure all subscribers received a copy.