The Stories we tell Ourselves

Death is preferable to public speaking for many people.Public speaker, Robin Banks tells the story of a woman he met who when she heard what he does for a living, proclaimed that she could never do what he does. When she was little and had to give her first formal speech in class, she dried – and everyone laughed at her.

The humiliation haunts her still.

Now Robin, as a little guy, also got publically laughed at. Playing King Herod in a school play, clunky little boy that he was, he accidentally knocked off his crown, which bounced at his feet. Lost in his role, he grabbed his “sword”, swung it towards a soldier, and commanded, “Hey soldier! Pick up my crown!!!” The audience collapsed in mirth.

The delight inspired a career.

Granted, Robin is temperamentally an extrovert. But I started wondering, how are our feelings affected by our interpretation of events? The stories we tell ourselves about them.. The little girl’s thoughts no doubt went something along the lines of, “I look so stupid. Everybody thinks I’m an idiot..” Robin’s thoughts on the other hand (and bare in mind he’d been clumsy) probably went something like, “Wow! They love me!”

When we think of events that have challenged us, if we can separate out the dry facts, the objective events, from our subjective interpretation of them – and then challenge those beliefs about them – can we rewrite our emotional responses to them, and even change our belief systems, and along with that, our self-image?

I want to challenge you to something..

Take an event in your life that was really challenging for you to handle. Now tell it two different ways, from the differing perspectives of two Archetypes.

In your first story, cast yourself first as The Victim who suffers. In the second telling of the same story, cast yourself as The Hero, who overcomes.

How was that?

Strange how perspective changes everything..