Feeling Stuck? Maybe It's Time to Change Your Life StoryBy Homaira Kabir
“I’ll never be able to do this!” “I’ll always fail at that.” “Nothing will ever change!” Ever caught yourself declaring such prophecies of doom and gloom with absolute conviction? What is it that makes you so sure of events that have yet to happen? Well, turns out it's a little area in your brain that loves to tell tales…
Stories have existed ever since our ancestors came together around campfires and tried to understand their place in the world around them. We have a narrative running in our minds of every aspect of our lives, from a lived past to an anticipated future, and of every person, place and situation in between, that enables us to make sense of events and determine appropriate action.
Sadly, a lot of these stories are negative. Let's say a friend ignores you at a party. Is it not all you can think about the next day even though you had a nice time with the five others who were there? And does it not replay itself over and over again in your mind until it's a huge web of reality, assumptions, beliefs and expectations all embedded in a story of mistrust?
Even when these stories are not biased, they may be outdated. Stories that may have been helpful at some point in our lives can become hurdles as we grow and hold us back from the pursuit of cherished goals. After all, stories are based on experiences, and unless we learn to update our experiences and appreciate our successes, we stay stuck, unhappy, and untrue to our own selves. It is because stories are the fuel that either propels us forward towards our goals or keeps us trapped in a cycle of destructive behaviors.
So, here are four questions that will help you align your life in the present and move past "stuck".
Ask Yourself: What’s Making Me Unhappy?
The first step is to sit back and take stock. What is the area in your life that you are unhappy with? Is it your relationship with your spouse or a colleague? Is it your passionless job or your self-doubts towards an activity you would like to pursue? Is it your helplessness in taking charge of your health or the insecurity you feel about your appearance? It may be more area than one, because stories have a way of spilling over into all aspects of our lives. Tackle the one that is affecting you the most—and some of the others may start falling into place, too.
Ask Yourself: What’s My Story?
Now listen to the story that you are telling yourself with regards to this aspect of your life. What is the basis for this story? What are the experiences