Writing Our Authentic Stories

Personal growth is the process of letting go of the fictional stories we have told ourselves, while simultaneously writing authentic stories based on self-love,  self-respect and self-compassion. 

Old stories may sound something like: "It is my responsibility to make sure everyone else is taken care of before me"; or "No one in this meeting wants to hear what I have to say";  or "I don't have anything important to contribute to this project"; or, my personal favorite, "As long as everyone else is happy, I'll be happy."

These old stories are deeply tied to the fear that if we change; we will no longer be loved or accepted by others.

This is simply not true. In fact, fear is an unauthorized biographer who prefers the sensational to the actual truth.

Writing your autobiography requires you to be vulnerable and create space for fear. It requires you to embrace faith, creativity and confidence. This is easier said than done, though, because every animal instinct inside of you believes that writing your truth will open you up to being hurt.

In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about her ritual for creating space for her fear before she embarks on a new project or adventure. Naturally, she writes it a letter. I have paraphrased it below:

"Dear Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand that you will be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I'm about to do anything interesting - and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There's plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way... You're allowed to have a seat, and you're allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You're not allowed to touch the road maps; you're not allowed to suggest detours... Dude, you're not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive."

The first time I read Gilbert's letter to Fear, I immediately thought about the old station wagon my parents had when I was a little girl; imagining my Fear in the way back of the wagon, looking up at the stars worrying about all the things that could go wrong. Meanwhile, Faith, Creativity, Confidence and I were happily singing our favorite songs in the front seat and bravely heading into new adventures.

This has proven to be a very powerful visualization for me. Whenever a worn-out, old story written by Fear wants to creep in, I pull up my station wagon and gently place Fear in the way back.

Writing our authentic stories is how we feel true peace and love throughout our entire bodies and beyond.

And, when we let go of our fictional storylines and become the only authorized storyteller of our life, we share our magic with the world and inspire others to do the same. That, my friends, is how we generate true connection and love.

Photo credit: Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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