You know that films, or books have a theme right?
In the case of the Lion King for example, it is living your destiny.
Well, what you may not be aware of is the importance of the stories of your life, and their themes. You may not even think of your life as a story but I assure you it is. As a friend of mine says “it’s not history, it’s a story” (although funnily enough in Polish the word “Historie” means stories, I know my Polish clients will be pleased to see my polish is coming on nicely!) Anyway where was I?
Oh yes – I believe your history & your story are linked.
This is because the HISTORY of your life is the factual and linear accounting of events of your past. So, for example, you were born at this time on this date at this hospital in this city/country. By the time you were 4 you had moved 8 times. you moved to this city. When you were 4 your Mother was ill and spent 3 months in a hospital. When you were 5 you fell off your bike and broke your collar bone. This stuff is the history because it’s true.
So what is the story of your life?
Think about it this way: the story of your life is how you attach a meaning around these events …that is the story.
For example, you find it hard to make friends because you moved so often as a child. Or you make friends easily, guess what because you moved so often as a child.
You might tell yourself the reason you are so independent is that your Mother was absent for big parts of your childhood, or that you lack confidence because of the same.
You might tell yourself you can’t do adventurous activities because you are clumsy or have a dodgy shoulder, or you might tell the story of how you have a high pain threshold because you got straight up and played for hours before anyone realised it was broken.
Here’s the thing, these meanings mostly come from your interpretation of an actual event.
For many people, it is their early history (things that happened between the age of 0-7) that shapes them. I am sure you would agree if the interpretation/meaning was based on what you perceived as a child this may be a different interpretation from the one you would place on it as an adult?
Let me give you an example. A client of mine had a huge fear of flying and that was what he wanted help with as he needed to travel a lot with his job. Using R.T.T (Rapid Transformational Therapy) he was asked to regress under hypnosis to revisit past scenes of his life.
One was his cherished childhood dog getting run over, because someone else had left the door open. Another was his business partner filing a proposal too late, and they missed out on a very big job that should have been theirs. There was also a nightmare house extension scenario created by a builder that someone else had recommended.
You might see the theme here. The theme is “bad things happen when I am not in charge”. Therefore, the fear of flying was, in fact, a fear of lack of control and not a fear of being in a large flying piece of metal.
As another example, I had a client who was an alcoholic. Going back through her stories, we found that as a child she experienced a lot of fun family parties, where alcohol was prominent. The connection may seem obvious but actually, this woman had been in therapy for years and it wasn’t working.
Going back through her significant stories, she relayed how lost she felt when her parents died, and that she wasn’t really in contact with the rest of her family.
She thought the alcohol gave her the happy feeling she had as a child. Hang on was she drinking as a child? NO! It was other people, so to get to the “feeling” she was experiencing as a child it wasn’t a drunk feeling, it was a feeling of connection.
Her logical mind had made the (incorrect) connection between alcohol and a feeling of happiness. After one year of talking therapies, the problem was identified in 1 hour, by putting together the stories of her life.
I didn’t realise until fairly recently that I had this ability, this skill of listening and really understanding the story, or perhaps understanding the REAL story would be more accurate. Once you change your story that is the “meaning you attach to a historical situation” (which you can anytime because it IS a story, not a history), then you can change your life, share your story and inspire others. But you can’t do it alone. Because the stories you tell yourself about the events of your life are powerful, they are YOUR truth and they will remain until you can see the REAL story, which pretty much always needs someone outside of the story to see.
Talking about future history (now there’s a topic for a later date) on Sunday I am packing to go to Marrakesh where I am holding a retreat with my partner in crime Marion Bevington. We will be spending some of that time looking at the stories of the lives of our clients and working through them to discover what might be holding them back.
If you would like to find out more about our next retreat the dates are Nov 14 – 21 – also in Marrakesh. Go here to find more about it