Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Your Story

Storytelling is a timeless art. A well told story can make us laugh, cry, empathize, remember, and imagine. It can move us to feeling sorrow, anger, regret, comfort, joy, courageous, and inspired. Whether reading, listening, or watching, stories evoke emotion and we love experiencing life through the stories of others.

While there are great lessons and confirmation of our humanity in stories, we have to be careful not to minimize ourselves because of what we witness in others. We have been conditioned to expect and even prefer a formulaic narrative—a character is living a "normal" life, something tragic happens, the character deals with the tragedy, and boom, happily ever after. In addition to this being simplistic and unrealistic, the biggest problem is that we seek relativity in stories so if our lives don't fit that narrative then we conclude that we're a failure or we're tremendously and permanently defective.

Each of us has a story, one that is ongoing and cannot be neatly wrapped up in a 250-page novel or 90-minute film. If we had the ability to stitch together all of our personal tragedies it would exceed the time it takes to read a novel. Likewise, our greatest moments can't be limited to 90 minutes. If just one aspect of our lives cannot be contained in the time it takes to read a novel or watch a movie how can we expect our entire existence, with all of its challenges, complications, and peak moments to be resolved and fit into a storybook, Hollywood formula? It can't and we wouldn't want it to.

You will experience many threads of stories in your lifetime. Some will be resolved quickly, others could evolve into your life's mission. In the same chapter you could experience high highs and heartbreaking lows. The good news is that you have the power and responsibility to create your own narrative, one that isn't based on a formula or expectation. Actively live the storyline that will bring you the most joy, peace, truth, and love. You will live out much more life than the time it takes to read or watch the stories of others so don't compare the entirety of your story to a snippet of someone else's. The only true tragedy would be for you not to recognize the beauty and power that you and your story contain.

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