We often think about stories as being the things we're told as we're growing up.
They're about love, and fairy tales, and being rescued by a prince on a dashing white horse. They usually have a theme that we're supposed to learn from, and they often form part of our social conditioning.
But did you know that story telling forms a large part of our everyday lives, and that we're ALL story tellers?
Our stories are the things we tell people when they ask us questions about our lives. They are the answers that we give when someone asks us 'how are you?' or 'what have you been doing?'.
The way we answer these questions will determine the path we travel in this world.
The more emotion we attach to telling our story, the more attached we become to the story. The more attached to the story, the more we weave the story into our lives. The more we weave, the more our lives mirror the story.
Before we can blink, our lives have become what our words have foretold.
Here's 4 lies that I'll bet you use everyday:
1. 'I can't do that because ...'
These are the classic tales we weave into our stories that keep us living our lives in a small way. For example: 'I can't run anymore because I have old and broken knees.' In reality, you can run but you choose not to. And the longer you tell the story of having old and broken knees, the more likely it is that you will have old and broken knees.
Instead, consider how easy it would be to change the words in your story to be this: 'I choose not to run anymore - instead, I exercise by walking and taking yoga classes. I find that this combination supports my strength and flexibility and keeps me fit and mobile.'
Such a simple change in the wording and it gives you a completely different outlook and view on life.
2. 'That's all right for her because ...'
Most of us spend a lot of time comparing our lives to those around us - and we almost always fall short in the measuring process. When we don't measure up, we start finding ways to justify why someone has something, does something or has achieved something we haven't - we look for their 'unfair advantage'.
'It's all right for her because ...' starts to creep in to our story: 'It's all right for her because she didn't have to fit in studying for her masters.' Or: 'It's all right for her because she didn't have to work two jobs while trying to stay fit and then visit her father in hospital.'
We're all individuals. We have very different lives. So why would we compare ourselves to others to determine whether or not we're successful? When we look at others we automatically see all the good things in their life: the things they have, the places they've been, the car they drive, the job they have. When we look at ourselves we use the things in our lives that aren't quite right to compare to this.
But ... we're comparing apples to oranges and becoming stressed and depressed because they look different.
What if we don't even look at what others are doing and simply look at the things in our life to determine how we're feeling? When we glimpse internally we get a very different view of the world.
3. 'I don't need to do that because ...'
This little gem is perhaps the most destructive of the lies we tell, because it's the one that holds us back from experiencing the most growth in our lives.
This lie creeps in when we are afraid of doing something that will change our lives. We're so busy convincing ourselves we don't need to do something that we don't have time to consider whether or not it would be good for us.
We can become so entrenched in the way we do things that considering new possibilities and opportunities becomes scary. We become fearful, which means we automatically say 'No' to things that are actually really great growth opportunities for us.
Take a moment to think about the things you say 'No' to. Be honest: is it because you don't want to do it? Or is it because you're too afraid to do it?
4. 'I'm too busy ...'
It's not surprising that this lie comes up regularly - after all, busy is a badge we're all competing to wear!
'I'm so busy' ... it's become the pre-requisite for proving that your life is a success. We fill our lives with layer after layer of 'stuff' so that we can prove to everyone how successful we are. Every second of every day must give us a story to tell about what we've done, where we've been and who we're with. If you don't have this, then what have you got?
Okay, so you're busy - but what are you busy with?
When was the last time you stopped to look at what you're actually busy with? What if being 'busy' is actually just a fad - and one that is slowly killing you?
If you sat down and gave names to all the balls you're juggling right now, what would you say about them? Are they worthwhile? Do they enrich your life? Or are they just things?
The words we use regularly have the power to determine the path our lives take. It's so important to take a few moments every day to be conscious of the stories we're telling about our lives. You have control over your destiny - all you need to do is be smart about how you create the story that leads you to your purpose in life.
There are loads of tips and tricks on how to think and live differently in 'Keep It Super Simple' - you can buy a copy from the sheIQ Life website or call me on +61 438 624 868 to discuss how I can help you to implement small steps to simplify your life.
Bronwen Sciortino is a global thought leader who empowers simple connection, and is the author of Keep It Super Simple - Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at: www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook or LinkedIn.