A-Z of Happiness: S is for Stories

Stories are great. They neatly explain why the same old crap keeps coming our way or why we just can’t catch a break, while completely letting us off the hook. If we trot out our story, we don’t have to look at ourselves – at what we might be doing to create or contribute to the recurring patterns in our lives.

The downside is that as long as we have our story, we stay stuck. We get to avoid the dreaded soul search, sure, but we also get more of the same. Usually much more.

If you hear yourself spinning the same old yarn about how you overeat and smoke a carton a day because you weren’t breastfed, or how your three marriages failed because your exes were all crapweasels, you might be wondering if there isn’t just the slightest possibility that beneath your carefully constructed saga there lies a teeny nugget of truth about you. This nugget is gold, because it can open up new ways of thinking and behaving that set you free from the old patterns.

Of course it’s possible that your story is true, but let’s face it – it probably isn’t.

Here are some classic stories and possible underlying truth nuggets:

Story: I smoke a carton a day because I wasn’t breastfed
Truth nugget: I smoke compulsively to create a diversion from the emptiness of my career

Story: My three marriages failed because my exes were all crapweasels
Truth nugget: My unwillingness to meet any of my own emotional needs exhausts all my loved ones and sends them running

Story: I don’t get on with other women because they’re always jealous of me
Truth nugget: I cultivate the attention of men and then feign hurt when women invariably get pissed off

Story: I keep getting fired because nice guys finish last
Truth nugget: I make nice with the secretaries and mailroom to cover up for doing a completely half-assed job

Story: I eat like a bird but I can’t lose weight because of my slow metabolism
Truth nugget: I do eat like a bird – a giant, ravenous vulture

Think you might have some stories of your own? Look out for this telltale syntax:

I [insert unpleasant life pattern here]
because [insert plausible explanation located in the past, other people, or quirk of quantum physics which no one could reasonably expect you to change]

Once you recognize it, consider abandoning your story, facing the nuggety reality and extricating yourself from your old pattern. You might find that surrendering your story breaks you free, so you can finally live happily ever after. THE END

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Image by Lall  under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

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