For most people the phrase Story Time can conjure up a warm fuzzy from our childhood. Yet in the adult world making up stories can be a source of heartache. A simple example – the other day our family was at a local Fair. We were having a great time. It was past dinner and starting to get dark. And my story-making machine kicked in big time. Instead of just owning my current feelings and needs, which were simply that I was tired and ready to go home, I started making up a story that the moral and right thing to do for our kids and all humanity was to leave.
Since I’m good at this (story-making) I had all kinds of logic and justification to back up my “right-ness”. It was late. It was already past our boys’ bedtime. We had at least another 45 minutes of travel time in front of us to get home. The boys were obviously “over-tired” and about to melt down…on and on. Because of all the righteousness I brought, it made it almost impossible for us to stay in the place of creativity to find a solution that met everyone’s needs.
The key appears to be willing to “own my need” up front. Of course this is often easier said than done. First, I must be able to identify my need. Then I have to have the courage to put it out there. The part of me that didn’t want to be a wet blanket on everyone else’s good time won out over the more true part of me that just needed to call it a day. Had I trusted and accepted myself more in those moments and trusted my wife and family more, odds are this would have been a lot less painful experience, maybe even enjoyable!
And the reality is, even if my family didn’t understand my need or they were disappointed that I had had enough – at least they would be disappointed in the real me instead of some projection of who I thought I should be.
Stories come in all shapes and sizes. Generally they connect to our past – places that need healing. Dropping our stories is great work, yet it is our work as individuals. We do our own healing by giving ourselves what we often want others to give us, what our stories say we should get from outside ourselves. You can ask yourself, what is it that I need? And if you can just stay with that and not make yourself or others wrong in the process you will be amazed what you can create from this place.
I encourage you to cut off your story maker and stay with what is present and create from there. Enjoy the benefits and lose the heartaches.