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Your Story, My Story, History. Monday February 13, 2017

"I wanna tell you a story..."

Mike Yarwood, the famous TV impersonator, is credited with associating the all-round entertainer, Max Bygraves, with that phrase. Max actually said, "I want to tell you a joke." Funny how stories change...

Winston Churchill said that, "History is written by the victors," - changing the story too.

Is It Time To Change Your Story?

If you've ever wondered why the bookshelves of the world are largely filled with stories - with 'invented reality' - it is because we live our lives by stories. We tell ourselves stories every minute of every day. We do this when we are awake, and we do this in our dreams. We invent stuff.

Max Bygraves' original saying, "I want to tell you a joke," may be more relevant than we may at first think. Why? Well, because many of our stories are a joke... and not a funny one.

We tell ourselves stories about the person who is too old to start something.

We tell ourselves stories about the person who is too tired to do what they intended.

We tell ourselves stories about the person who said it is time to quit, to give up, to resign, to walk away.

We tell ourselves stories about what other people think about that person.

And that 'person' is us.

There's one outstanding piece of good news, though:

You are the story-teller.
Your history is written by you.
You can change the story, anytime, any place, anywhere, anyhow.
Tell yourself better stories today!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Jane Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 8:16am

Hear hear! Thanks Lex, an encouraging start to the day. A reminder that maybe I have a little bit of control over whether this is a good one or not so good one. I hope you have a good day today Lex xx

Lex Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 10:06am

Thanks Jane, I've already caught myself telling a couple of not-so-helpful stories, so I'm really hoping these thoughts will move us all towards telling ourselves the good stories today. Of course, the sunshine is helping here in Dorset! Have a brill day xx

LP Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 8:26am

Hi Lex,
The story I tell myself is that just under the surface I am an angry person.
I am nice on the surface because I want to be a good person.
That if paricular buttons are pushed my anger is triggered and I slowly start to simmer until I get to boiling point!
It's usually a small button. I can deal with quite alot of big stuff, apart from rejection. Small stuff like what "that person" said to me.
That I am angry because I was raised by an angry person, who also was.

I don't like this story, but I believe it. I don't feel good writing it.
What I can do though is not tell myself it anymore. I learnt on here from a wise one :) that I can reframe anything that is negative about myself. Put it into the past tense. So here goesif particular buttons were pushed anger was triggered... etc. I don't know much about reframing, but am interested if anyone knows more than what I think I picked up about it.
I felt anger deeply because I experienced alot as a child and that was not my fault. Not anyones fault. It just was. It isn't now though!
I prefer the story that goes " I am a good person. I am not perfect. I am human. My feelings are natural and I know how to be gentle on myself.
Inside everyone of us is our essence. That beautiful starting point.

Thank you for helping change the story I told myself Lex and for bringing me back to my essence. The sky is lovely and bright this morning. Love and light to you and all. LPxx

Lex Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 10:15am

This is such a powerful sharing of your soul, LP - I deeply appreciate it. I have some thoughts... The stories we tell ourselves are our 'Truth' - and thus they ring true. You said, "I don't like this story, but I believe it." (I also understand that you didn't feel good writing it.) With a believable story, sometimes changing the story for a new one is a step too soon (not too far, just too soon). The easier early step is to add something to the story that changes its meaning and significance (which is the heart of reframing). For example, there are many movies where something is left out of the story until later on (the 'reveal') - especially in detective stories. In a similar way, there will be pieces missing from your story - things that happened at the time - good things that we haven't yet focused the camera on. I know enough about you to know that you are a good person - and that this is not just on the surface. You may have 'learned' to be angry because of the models presented to you by those surrounding you - but it's a learned behaviour - it's not the essential you. So, you can learn a new way - a way that feels right and comfortable and your own truth. You have survived, and there have been times where you've more than survived, you've thrived. Those are great chapters in your story to learn from. You survived and then thrived because of elements in your story. I wish you love and light as your inner-you brings to your attention those great elements to draw upon to strengthen and brighten this day and your future. xx

Eva Tue, Feb 14th 2017 @ 7:07am

Hi LP and Lex, I was listening to The Woman of the Hour podcast yesterday and I heard something that might be a help in reframing, one of the amazing women (I think in the big picture episode) said that she was taught that people who were mean to you were acting out because they themselves were hurting. She was taught this as a very small child and so has never felt anger towards people who were mean to her, rather sympathy that they were hurting. I wonder maybe if that might allow you to add some distance between you and the anger?

Eva Tue, Feb 14th 2017 @ 7:14am

Ooo also, there is a good Human Givens book on anger, might be worth checking it out. Also you are not your anger, you are an enlightened lady who has come to realise that anger is one of her emotional responses but who works hard to not let it control her life, you are strong and sensitive and that is highly commendable.

Lex Tue, Feb 14th 2017 @ 4:37pm

Thanks for the recommendations, Eva. I've often thought 'rude' people were not dealing with something in their own lives! We mask our inner selves with so much smoke and mirrors!

LP Tue, Feb 14th 2017 @ 11:48pm

Thank you so much Lex. Iike the idea that I have thrived in the great chapters of my story and have learned positives too. They are the chapters to pay attention to. Xx

Sally Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 8:33am

What encouraging words, Lex! I have been telling myself stories recently!
I have been telling myself I am too old to start new things! In fact, EVERY ONE of your 4 stories. How uncanny! Or is that just typical of what people do tell themselves?
So I am going to bear in mind what you've written, because it rings very true....
Thank you so much for pinpointing this. I will heed your words this week...
You really are Mr Motivator! Smiley face.

Lex Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 10:19am

Hi Sally, thanks for what you've shared (and calling me Mr Motivator! Wasn't he the guy in the Lycra?) I'm sure it rings true because these are archetypical stories most of us tell ourselves at some stage in life. I know they are ever present as "The Resistance" when I'm seeking to move forward, to grow, to transform. Perhaps they are trying to protect us, but I know they are stopping us unnecessarily. Mr Motivator says, "It's New Story Time!... and this one is the one where they all lived happily ever after!" Now, there's a smiley face!

Valerie Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 10:03am

You are so right Lex.I tell myself really scary horror stories,and I believe them.Constantly on red alert,waiting for disaster to strike me or those I love.I need to separate fiction from reality,stop frightening myself.Thank you for this.

Lex Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 10:26am

Hi Valerie, I almost agree! The 'almost' is around the reality thing. I'm convinced I've never had a proper grip on reality - it's just too complex. So, I've needed to tell myself stories about it. My hope, today, is that we all just learn to create more empowering 'fiction'!!! I wasn't chosen for the team at school, I wasn't the captain of the team, I wasn't this... I wasn't that... BUT I was happy with my English teacher and the world of books she opened to me, I was delighted with my Biology teacher and the world of Natural History that was all the richer from his teaching, I was enchanted by my Pottery teacher and the introduction he gave me to the joys of clay... These were my 'successes' - a section of reality that I choose to focus on. Success is a story we tell ourselves. Sounds like a genre shift would work magic for you - from horror to the discovery channel! Those of us who grew up in the UK and at a certain time will have the 'Jackanory' theme tune deep in our subconscious. If that's your experience, may you hear that theme tune and tell yourself one lovely story after another from now on, lovely stories about our heroine, Valerie... ah, and she shall live happily ever after...

Orangeblossom Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 10:25am

Great blog Lex! Extremely encouraging. Also thought-provoking. Thanks very much Lex!

Lex Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 10:42am

All happy stories have Orange Blossom in them... happy storytelling, dear friend!

Leah Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 10:45am

As always your blog makes me think. Thanks.

Lex Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 11:27am

...and thoughts make stories, Leah. I wish you happy ones with happy endings...

Mary Wednesday Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 5:17pm

Most apt for me as I seek to retell a particular story so it retains the integrity of the original folk tale, yet explores and reshapes the motivations of the characters and makes room for another ending (a happier one). There is a greater significance of this story as we all look for messages for ourselves in traditional tales....

Lex Tue, Feb 14th 2017 @ 8:53am

I've come to appreciate the value of stories far more deeply this week, Mary. As you say, we discover messages in these tales...

The Gardener Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 6:13pm

Hello Lex. I've just listened to the Monday report on Radio 4 of Steve Hewlett, media correspondent, dying of oesophecal cancer and reporting on the progress - fascinating stuff, not ghoulish, but encouraging people with a sore throat to enquire further, and looking objectively at treatments and drugs available, privately and on NH. I wish I was a scientist at the moment and not a wife - to charter the changes to the brain of an Alzheimer sufferer, on a daily basis like the chap above - and, dispassionately, watch, like a snake sloughing off his skin, how this disease peels away the civilisation inculcated (right word) in us since childhood, how sentiment, love, caring, reasoning and logic disappear. But I've written joyous childrens' stories for. my grandchildren, and historical novels - all based on true history around here (and how the social history reacted on 'my' families, themselves drawn from 4 centuries of registers). The amazing thing was that 'minor' characters would grow, take ME and the story over, and became great favourites with my readers - and, the novelist's great accolade, that readers weep when the hero dies. Mr G loves them - and the 'readers' who come in twice a week are re-reading them (in French) and they, themselves, are caught up in THEIR history, of which they knew nothing.

Lex Tue, Feb 14th 2017 @ 8:52am

Dear Gardener, you are so talented. What a set of rich experiences you have had - and we understand that you are having a long period of trying experiences too... but, to write children's stories and historical novels that transport people to such emotional engagement - these are achievements to be proud of.

Rachel Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 8:42pm

Hi lex
Thanks for your blog
I'm struggling very much at the moment.
I'm surrounded by family and friends and colleagues who have children and I am infertile
So in my story I am the barren woman cursed
I was brought up as a Christian and am familiar with the stories in the Bible of women cursed by God who were barren
I have been asked several times at work by a male colleague whose wife is having their fourth child when I am having children
I cry when my partner is not at home because he buries his emotions and doesn't like me being upset
I had always hoped that my story would be that of a mother
In time there will be another story

Leah Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 8:57pm

Rachel I am thinking of you and your struggle. I hope one day you have a different story. Thanks for having the strength to share your present story so honestly. I am sure this will help others . Take care.

Eva Tue, Feb 14th 2017 @ 7:19am

Dear Rachel, I feed so sad for your pain and situation, I hope that this isn't a crass suggestion but have you considered adoption? Some of my friends were adopted and they were so happy with their adopted families.

Lex Tue, Feb 14th 2017 @ 8:48am

Hi Rachel, thank you for sharing. In my own experience, being brought up as a Christian can bring its own confused and mixed messages. I can promise you this is not a curse from God. So may I recommend a little story shift to get started? In your story, you could become the barren woman that others mistake as cursed... then that opens an opportunity for positive possibilities to reveal a happier path as we discover you really aren't cursed. And if you aren't cursed... [This is so serious, please feel free to chat via email - Caroline knows she can share my email with anyone who wants to discuss matters privately.]

Jane Mon, Feb 13th 2017 @ 10:28pm

Sending you hugs Rachel. Like Lex says, I hope one day you have a different story x

Lex Tue, Feb 14th 2017 @ 8:49am

Thanks Jane, I really need one!!!! Many fictional stories go through the valley and then come out, so I'm holding out for that! x

LP Wed, Feb 15th 2017 @ 12:04am

Sending lots of love to you Rachel. Society in general can throw up unhelpful and sometimes painful blows, which you have taken the power out of. So often, how we think we are perceived hurts almost as much as the cause. Have you seen the movie Lion? It's beautiful. LP xx

Nicco Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 1:20pm

Thanks for your blog, Lex - I found it very up-lifting. I've heard people say, 'Life is what you make it' and found it hard to get my head round that one over the years, and eventually came to the conclusion that life is what you make it but only to a certain extent. Sometimes one has to do the best one can with the hand one is dealt in life. And therein lay the rub! However, I think my 'self-talk' has improved a lot these days as I'm able to say to myself (and admit on the blog here) that, all things considered, I have actually done pretty darn well with the hand I've been dealt!! (:-D) Thanks again.

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