Each Story We Carry within Us Reflects a Bit of Our History
Each Story We Carry within Us Reflects a Bit of Our History
We each carry a story within us. In fact, we each carry many stories within us. There are stories of triumph, sadness, courage, trauma, strength, and resilience. Each one of these tales represents one part of our life, a part of us that shows through only as the tip of the iceberg – showing the world a small sliver of visibility beyond the deep layers of bedrock lying underneath.
And with each story, we often emerge full of beliefs and principles, ways that we see the world which may or may not be popularly held beliefs.
The privilege of coaching is being able to peer into some of these stories and beliefs as they arise throughout a coaching relationship. Having the opportunity to hear a perspective on the world that has been long held for the client, recognizing that this carried them through deep and meaningful transitions or moments of their life, but also recognizing when they may no longer be serving them in their current version of reality.
Many of my clients share these beliefs openly, “well we all know that…x, y, z” not realizing that these little windows on the world showcase a personal history or experience that is not necessarily shared or common in the world.
There is no judgment in these stories. And we certainly all have them. But the deeper we can look beneath the surface, the more we can uncover about how we perceive the world around us, and the more perspective we have on the world we truly wish to create.
For we are always creating our own reality, each and every day.
My clients have all heard me say that whether good or bad, they always have a choice in the life they are living and the reality they experience. Sometimes it’s easier to believe that life happens to us, that we are not, in fact, in the driver’s seat, but that the world around us and circumstance create our world for us. But the opposite is true. Whatever our experience of the world, we always have a choice how we react, how we show up, and what we do with the world we are placed in.
And so, we create a story about who we are and what we believe and how we are in the world. We build this story over decades, adding bits and pieces to our knowledge about ourselves. And we feel safe in the walls of these stories, knowing that they hold little pieces of truth that we’ve lovingly built over time based on all of our lived experiences and observations in the world.
The trouble is, sometimes our lived experiences create a story that simply isn’t true. Sometimes our lived experiences tell us that it isn’t safe to be ourselves, or it isn’t a good idea to be open about our emotions. Sometimes we had a moment in time – could have been in childhood or in romance, maybe even at work – that taught us that who we were was, in some way or another, wrong. And so, we start to build a barrier around us – creating a story about what is okay and what isn’t – and we deepen that belief over time, etching the carving even deeper by the day, confident in our knowledge of “how the world is.”
And then one day, you might just meet a coach like me – who challenges these long held beliefs and asks you to consider your perspectives. You will be challenged to look beyond the story at the surface and see what experiences from your past contributed to that moment where you believed that to be true. And you will be challenged to write a new story – one that puts you in the driver’s seat and challenges you to change your perspective and find a new way forward for yourself.
I had a coaching session with a client today who was adverse to receiving positive feedback. He didn’t believe the positive feedback was genuine and instead believed that for any feedback to be true or meaningful it must be negative or at least constructive. Upon hearing this, it is easy to develop all sorts of judgments about this man and his life. Perhaps he is too strict, too harsh, and a difficult person. Perhaps he doesn’t believe in living a good life or being happy. Or, perhaps, when you look beneath the surface you see a person who has experienced a great deal of sadness in his life and was always on the receiving end of sympathy without compassion. The kind of sympathy that says “Oh, poor guy.” And so, he spent his life building up a belief that any positive feedback was simply pity in disguise. And rather than being the recipient of pity he decided it was better to forgo anything that might resemble positive (or fake) feedback, which wouldn’t much help him anyway.
And the deeper we went in the conversation the more obvious it became that a past experience had indeed ingrained this belief in his life over a lifetime. And undoing a life’s work is not simple. It is something that must be uncovered step by step, first understanding the voice and what it tries to protect you from, and then understanding when it shows up, and then finding ways to combat it so that you, and those around you, can be free from its grasp.
We each have our stories and beliefs. And there is no one size fits all way of working through them or changing our perspective. Our life’s work is to discover what we believe to be true and to challenge ourselves to turn it around and see if it is really true at all angles, or if it is an outdated belief which no longer serves us.
In my coach training we called these saboteurs. Some call them gremlins, and some others call them bottles – they are all sources of self-limiting beliefs that hold us back from true happiness, for fear that something ugly might come to the surface. So, we protect ourselves and entrench in these beliefs, fearing that without them we won’t even know who we are anymore.
And as a coach, it is my role to help you find a safe way forward to go even deeper and uncover the root of your beliefs so that you can move past them into true understanding and growth.
Did you enjoy reading this blog post? Share it on social media using the buttons below!