Is That Your Story?

I’d like to tell you a story.  It’s about a particular woman, it’s about every person.  It’s about me and it’s about you.  It is a story about our stories.

It was the first time that the thought arrived clearly and honestly.  She wanted to die.

It surprised her at first.  And then she remembered her friend who had described the very same thought, the very same feeling.

It was not a random act of hysteria or a long-drawn realization.  It was not conclusive.  It was simply the thought, almost without any emotion, that if she were to die right now, everything would be so much easier.

Almost immediately she heard her own voice of reason telling her, don’t be ridiculous.  Don’t run away.  Think of who would suffer.  And she recognized the truth of this voice.

She also had a strange, confident calm that made her instinctively understand that she would not DO anything.  She would not take any action on the thought. 

She simply stood aside from herself and viewed this woman, middle aged, successful, with all the trappings of a joyful life…feeling like she wanted to die.

There are many versions of this story. 

Here’s one.

She drove her car to the beach.  It was a beautiful calm day, the sun was shining, there was a perfect breeze.  She carefully parked her car behind the sand dunes and left the keys in the dashboard.  She did not think about what she was going to do, she had no sense of purpose or intention.  She walked across the sand dunes, arrived at the beach, threw off her shoes and felt the sand gently caress her toes.  It was warm on the surface, cooler underneath and as she got closer to the water she felt the dampness seep into her feet.  She did not stop at the edge, she just kept on walking.  The water was warm and as it lapped gently against her thighs she felt relief.  She continued to walk and as the water reached her breasts, the tune that had been in her head escaped her lips.  She took a deep breath and smiled as the water went over her head.

Or perhaps it went like this…

She drove to her local coffee shop.  The owner greeted her and made her the most perfect cup of coffee, exactly as she likes it.  She sat in the corner seat beside the window that looked out onto the street.  She leaned her head in her hands and tears started falling down her face, onto the table and into her cup. 

She noticed a young child with chocolate all over his face, diving into his brownie.  She started to smile and then a little laugh escaped.  As the laugh floated up into the warm, moist coffee-house air, it became an idea.  She noticed the idea and was startled, why have I never thought of this before? 

And for the first time in years, she felt a flutter of excitement deep in her belly.  She could really do this.  She knew exactly who she needed to tell first.  She knew who would help her.  She closed her eyes.  The tear-stinging eased and she began to imagine her new story.  She saw what she was about to create.

Are you wondering what really happened?  Here’s the thing, it’s for you to decide.

Every day we create our life story.  Every day we make decisions and choices; and not just about our actions, but also about the way we tell our story.

Our day to day activities are often overwhelming.  We are inundated with conflicts, decisions and uncertainty.  Most people experience stress as a daily, almost unnoticed, reality.  Our stories often contribute to this.

We tell our story of today and yesterday and tomorrow all the time.  The narrative choices we make create our reality.  And they are choices.  That means you can choose something better, a story that serves you well, a reality that allows you to thrive.

So how do we create these empowering, life-giving, abundant stories?  Well why not start with a smile; then a little laugh.  Let it fly out of your mind and heart and follow it.  Watch how it turns into an idea.  Then reclaim that smile-idea and take the chance that it might even work!

And then share it, share it with the people you love.

Years ago I wrote a poem about my grandmother and I shared it with my teacher.  I was very nervous to show it to him but when he gave it back to me he wrote these simple words, ‘show it to the world’. 

Now is the time, tell your story, show it to the world!

(and you can start by sharing it right here!)

Best wishes and best stories


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4 comments on “Is That Your Story?

  1. Lisa

    I love that. It is so true that we can chose our story and be empowered by it. We can take the old story that plays in our head, starring us as The Victim, and create a new story that stars us as The Hero who wins the battle.
    I do this with clients – help them change the story they tell themselves and the world – and they are always happier for it.
    : ) Helle

  2. Hi Lisa,
    I couldn’t agree with you more and thanks for sharing your story and reflections. Like you and Helle, I too work with clients providing the space to reflect on the stories we tell ourselves and each other. I encourage others to re-author their stories, to explore other options, other choices…to realise we can partake in the ‘writing’ of our story.

    I experienced this myself. For years I had a story about my relationship with my father…not a particularly positive one, but it served me well and explained to myself and others a particular way of being. Then, at my father’s funeral a few years ago, I heard other stories, other memories from my brothers, my sister and my father’s friends. In some cases, they told stories about the same events in which I was involved….yet they had different perspectives. These stories shook loose memories I had conveniently locked away because they didn’t fit my narrative. However, as I considered these other stories, I recognised and remembered aspects of them to be true. I couldn’t ignore them. I had to reconsider my storytelling about my father. It wasn’t that my story wasn’t ‘true’; it was just that there were other ‘truths’ out there. In accommodating them, I found my story and my inner relationship with my father began to shift. I was grateful to have been reminded of aspects of my father I had ‘forgotten’ . . . with them, I could re-author my story. These alternative tellings liberated me and added a greater richness to my relationship with my father. My story was no longer ‘black and white’ (the way I’d been telling it); now it was more colourful and diverse.

    Thanks for bringing this topic up and opening up the discussion.

  3. Each and every story resonates in me and I love it! Thank you Lisa for introducing me storytelling and story coaching :)))))

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