Every one of us is a story. The past chapters of our lives comprise our back story – childhood, adolescence and the rest. The present is being written this very moment. And the arc of each of our stories will be determined by the future chapters that will unfold.
Every event in our stories matters because it defines, to a lesser or greater extent, what we have lived through and how we responded in each situation.
It is part of the human condition that we tend to see things as happening “to” us, rather than “because of” us. We can easily lapse into being passive as our life stories are written “around” us.
You can imagine that a passive main character wouldn’t make for a compelling movie or novel. Would you want to sit in a theatre and watch a film about someone who goes through the motions of her life story, simply reacting with happiness or sadness or anger or disappointment to events and never taking action to influence how future events will unfold? Of course not.
A passive main character doesn’t make for a compelling life story, either.
Since you must be the main character and the writer of your life story—since you must take action—why not resolve to make yourself the hero of the story?
That’s a pretty simple idea, right?
It doesn’t take a big ego to cast yourself as the hero of your life story. It takes some commitment and courage. But you wouldn’t have reached this paragraph of my blog, if you didn’t have both. The title would probably have been enough to make you run away.
Once you resolve to be the hero of your own life story, the next question is, “How?”
That’s where you get to be creative and truthful, at the same time. Because you’re going to metaphorically “write” (meaning, live) the most gripping, exciting and uplifting story you can imagine.
So, what will that be, for you?
Here are some ways to decide: Ask yourself what would define the greatest comeback you could ever imagine making. Ask yourself what would be the most unexpected, yet heartfelt and genuine decision you could ever imagine acting upon. Ask yourself who in your life you could come to the aid of, unexpectedly, and very substantially. Ask yourself who or what you have lived in fear of and how you will demonstrate you aren’t going to live in fear, anymore.
Now, take one step in the direction of actualizing that turn of events. Just one step. Don’t jump ahead in the book. Don’t fast forward to the last five minutes of the movie to “see what happens.” You can’t see that, right now, so you’d be showing anxiety, instead of faith. Anxiety kills dreams. Faith manifests dreams.
One step. Then the next. Then the next. Keep the arc of the story in mind, all the way along, but stay focused on each paragraph of the story, while “writing” that paragraph. Stay grounded and determined that you will not rush because you know you’ll be the hero of the story, by the end.
And, then, you will. See, you can will that you will.
Dr. Keith Ablow
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