Can storytelling change your life?

Storyteller2I am a storyteller. As a coach and a writer, I believe very strongly in the power of stories. When we take the time to examine our stories we begin to see the amazing evolution of our individual lives.

I believe in evolution. In fact, I see it every day! No, I don’t see fish growing legs, walking onto land, and becoming human beings. I don’t even engage in that discussion much. (I’m not a scientist.) Nor do I have a strong inclination to talk about the other side of the argument – the religious side. But I do see human evolution all the time! And you can too, if you’re willing to take a closer look.

Think about it. Are you the same person you were 20 years ago? 5 years ago? Last week? Do you want the same things you wanted then? If you answered “no” you’re in the right place. You’ll like this blog and I hope you participate in the conversation.

A tiny bit of science (still not a scientist)

Fact. The cells in our bodies are constantly dying and being replaced by new cells. You can observe the process yourself.

  • Consider this: You go on vacation and get a tan. Then you go back to work, spending most of your daylight hours at the office. The tan fades, flaking off and being replaced by new skin cells. Your skin looks very much like it did before you went on vacation.
  • Or this: You cut your finger. The body grows new cells to close the wound and heal the cut. Often with no lingering scar or sign that there was ever a cut!

If those tiny examples aren’t dramatic enough for you, if you hear yourself saying “so what”, think about this. Are you in the same body you were in as a toddler? An adolescent? A twenty-year-old?

Today scientists believe that the only cells in the body that do not replace themselves reside in the brain. Thanks to modern technology, we are now able to watch the brain at work. We can see which parts of the brain light up (working) when stimulated. But we can’t see WHAT is being thought. At least not yet!

Stories are the WHAT

They stick with us when other parts of the body are being replaced. From the time we are born we begin to store the stories. Some of your stories are similar to mine; others are entirely different. That’s why we’re unique and our lives evolve differently.

The stories we are told growing up frequently become the stories we tell ourselves throughout our lives. We internalize them. They become our core beliefs. So much so that we don’t even realize it. They are constantly telling us who we are and what to expect. Knowing what to expect can keep us safe. But stories can also make our world smaller and hold us back.

Consider Cinderella. If you’re a female, the story is that the handsome prince will rescue you from your misery and take care of you “happily ever after”. But if you’re a male, guess what? It is your job to do the rescuing. If we internalize this story, we both might be in for surprise or disappointment. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s just a story. Right?

Here’s the thing; sometimes the story doesn’t work for us. The good news is this: When we identify the story, we can decide whether we like it, or want to rewrite it.

Cinderella rewritten: Tired of living in someone else’s house, following someone else’s rules, Cinderella decides not to marry the prince (at least not yet). Instead, she starts a cleaning business – after all she’s really good at it! – and becomes an independent business owner. Maybe later on she decides to marry the prince (he’s a really nice guy) and employs someone from her service to keep the palace clean. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s her story, not mine.

So the question becomes this: What stories do you tell yourself about your life? How do your stories impact your life’s evolution? It’s up to you. It’s your story.

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