You Are Not Your Stories

I spend a lot of time hanging out with stories.

Because pretty much everybody that comes to me for sound-ey stuff wants the same thing.

To turn the volume up on the awesome in their life.

Yeah, one person may be crazy stuck and want help shifting it.

And another person might be knee deep in struggle and totally over it.

And someone else could be trying to get some gorgeous going and looking for some extra juice to make it happen.

But, really, at the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing.

Making life more fabulous.

Which is rad. Because sound is a rockstar at making that happen.

Cue the rogue ninjas

But this brings us back to the story thing for a second.

Because the stories you hang out with have a huge impact on your ability to amp up the awesome.

Helpful stories feed the awesome. Unhelpful stories starve it.

That sounds kind of duh, right?

And it totally is.

But most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the stories they’re hanging out with. It’s not even on their radar.

So all the unhelpful stuff just hides out. Like a band of rogue ninjas killing off all the awesome.

Which is all kinds of sucktastic.

Curiouser and curiouser

Getting curious about your stories can be crazy helpful.

Just recognizing that these stories even exist is a huge start.

Because once you get that you have stories you can zoom in for a closer look.

And chances are there are some unhelpful ones lurking somewhere in there.

They might be cluttering up your soul’s couch (if your soul had a couch). Or causing gaps in your rhythm. Or just making your stuck that much more suck.

So being curious about helps you to figure out what’s shakin’.

Don’t panic!

And I so get that finding out you’ve been hanging out with ugh stories can be a huge bummer.

But don’t panic. It’s not just you.

Pretty much everyone I know has some kind of totally-not-helpful story hanging out somewhere in their landscape.

Because, seriously, it’s not hard to pick up stories that suck.

We can get them from our family. And our friends. And our love interests. And our teachers. And our coaches. And our bosses. And the TV. And the internet.

And… And… And…

It’s not like unhelpful stories are in short supply.

Nuggets of suck

And the weird thing about these stories is that we can hang out with them for so long that we don’t even notice them anymore.

These nuggets of suck just sort of s-l-o-w-l-y blend into the landscape.

We don’t forget that they’re there. We just assume they belong there. Because, you know, they’ve been there forever.

So we just accept whatever kind of blech stuff they’re spinning as the way things are.

Or the way life is.

Or the way we are.

Lies! All lies!

But that’s totally not true.

Because you are not your stories.

Can I say that again?

You. Are Not. Your Stories.

All that stuff that says you’re broken. Or not worth it. Or that no one could really love you.

Or that you don’t matter. Or that you don’t deserve awesome. Or that it’s selfish to even want awesome.

Or that you’ll always be as stuck as you are right now. Or that you screw everything up. So you’ll always screw everything up. So you might as well not even try.

Those are stories.

Big steaming piles of suck that have faded into your landscape. And totally made themselves at home.

But they’re not true.

And they’re not you.

And you don’t have to keep hanging out with these puketastic ambassadors of ack.

Holy doppelgangers Batman!

Getting hip to these devious doppelgangers rocks.

Because then you can look at your stories with a more conscious, critical eye.

You can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. And see that the static is coming from the stories. Not from you.

But knowing how to handle these stories during the getting-to-the-bottom-of-it bit is super helpful. Because stories can be slippery. And sneaky. And subtle.

Story handling tip #1

You don’t have to try to sort out whether the story is true or not.

Because every sucktastic story will swear it’s totally true. And then try to pelt you with a bazillion different reasons to prove it.

So it’s kind of a waste of time and energy to even go there. And going there can be ouch-ey.

Story handling tip #2

You also don’t have to get into divvying up your stories into piles of good and bad.

Because that just creates all kinds of fracturing of your inner bits. Which is totally not helpful.

Plus if you bump into some bad stories, it’s easy to start feeling like you’re full of gack.

Which just creates another story.

Which kind of defeats the whole point of this thing.

Story handling tip #3

Learning how to skillfully survey your stories comes down to one super simple, crazy important question.

Is this story helpful or unhelpful?

Not true or untrue.
Not good or bad.
But helpful or unhelpful.

And the answer to that question tells you everything you need to know about the story. And whether or not to let it keep lounging on your inner couch-ey thing.

Story handling tip #4

When you decide to boot out stories that suck, it’s important to snag a new awesomer story to take the old one’s place.

Otherwise the old story may try to reclaim its place on the couch.

But if it finds another story hanging out where it used to hang out, it’ll realize that it’s pretty much S.O.L.

And the new story can be whatever you want it to be.

If the old story said that you aren’t ok then the new story could be you are a million kinds of fabulous.

Or if the blech story said you were too tall or too big or too sensitive or too whatever, the new story might be that you’re absolutely, completely, totally purrfect.

Bonus tip: Baby steps

And if that feels like too huge of a leap, make the new story something smaller.

If your old story kept rattling on about you being broken, your new story can be that you’re not broken.

Then when that feels comfortable, get a new new story that says you’re ok. And then another new story that says you’re awesome. And then another new story that says you’re oh-my-god gorgeous.

You get the idea.

Baby stepping it with the new stories is totally ok.

Do what works.

Why bother?

Why does this story stuff even matter?

Because the stories you carry shape your life in huge ways.

They influence your ability to believe in yourself. And to see how much you rock. And to do your thing. And to live a life that’s blowing up with awesome.

I have seen hundreds and hundreds of people show up with stuck that was rooted in stories that sucked.

And after the sound-ey stuff worked its magic, one person after another dropped their sucktastic stories and snagged some gorgeous ones.

And their lives totally changed.

Sometimes immediately. Sometimes over time.

But letting go of the suck made more room for the awesome.

And that’s ultimately what it’s all about.

How are the stories you’re hanging out with affecting you?

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16 Responses to You Are Not Your Stories
  1. Sulwyn
    January 22, 2010 | 9:40 am

    Okay. I really really really really needed that today. I’m right in the midst of wrestling with stories and finding out what helps and doesn’t help, and those story wrangling tips really make sense.

  2. Square-Peg Karen
    January 22, 2010 | 9:56 am

    Love the practical tips – love, love the message – and love, love, love the sweet humor mixing it all together. Thanks for this!

  3. Andy Dolph
    January 22, 2010 | 11:39 am

    Our programing that becomes the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves can be so powerful… and changing them can be a real key…

    But I think we can go even further investigating this – for instance – what stories do our business tell?

    If someone walks in the door and is greeted warmly, in a comfortable environment and truley listened to that’s one story.
    On the other hand if we walk in to a place where we stand in line in a cold uncomfortable environment where it’s impossible to find anyone to help, and anyone I do find doesn’t seem to care.

    Those are 2 very different stories – and we can make conscious choices about what stories our environments, websites, processes and such tell.

    In my mind the primary cause of business failure (other then maybe running out of $$ before reaching critical mass) is conflict and incongruity in the story of the business. IE – the founder and CEO has a POWERFUL concept about true customer service – but that gets lost in the growth of the organization and the folks that actually serve customers are pushed to maximize profit at any cost – sound like someplace you’ve been recently?

    I realize I’m writing a book here, so I think I’ll stop now, and maybe post about this in more detail on my blog later….

    Be well!
    .-= Andy Dolph´s last blog ..A tiny soprano can make a big difference =-.

  4. caz
    January 22, 2010 | 4:48 pm

    Oh so true – we deal with this when teaching HypnoBirthing, all those horror stories girls hear from such a young age to make them frightened of a natural experience… they’re “other people’s stories” just as you say above. We don’t do the sound-ey stuff you do, but a bit of music and relaxation works wonders 🙂

  5. Linnea (cafemercury)
    January 22, 2010 | 5:09 pm

    Wow. This post shows up on the heels of my Kundalini-inspired “thinking with your heart, then your gut, then your brain is NOT a bad thing” epiphany of yesterday. THAT is awesome!

    Time to break out the pen and start writing new stories. ‘Scuse me ….
    .-= Linnea (cafemercury)´s last blog ..I felt the coldness of my winter … I never thought it would ever go …. =-.

  6. Michelle
    January 22, 2010 | 5:34 pm

    “Not true or untrue. Not good or bad. But helpful or unhelpful.”

    I love this – what a practical, be-kind-to-yourself approach!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..How to Write a Good Tagline for Your Small Business =-.

  7. Gina
    January 22, 2010 | 6:08 pm

    I am ALL over this.. untangling the stories, from the personal to the cultural… from Ishamael, to Course in Miracles, to Loving What Is,to The Book(on the taboo against knowing who you really are) – all books I highly recommend for some serious story-busting – and on and on…

    We really don’t realize the power our stories have over us and over the quality of our lives. How much would shift for us if we told a different story.

    Oh, those ah ha! and Holy shit! moments… love it.
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Antidote for Winter =-.

  8. Kim Wood
    January 22, 2010 | 6:41 pm

    Love this. Love the message and love how you express it.
    Fabeku, this teaching should be part of every school curriculum and in the hands and minds of every child. (As well as us pseudo-grown ups, of course.) Stories are hugely powerful – imagine knowing this at 17, 14 or 10….. world changing stuff.

  9. Katie Schroth
    January 22, 2010 | 7:44 pm

    You asked: How are the stories you’re hanging out with affecting you?. And also: Is this story helpful or unhelpful?

    What amazing questions!! Seemingly simple questions that go really, really deep. In many ways just spending time reflecting on them can be very insightful.

    Thanks for asking/sharing these simple, but profound questions.

  10. Sharon Carne
    January 28, 2010 | 11:38 am

    Hi Fabeku,
    I am truly grateful I found your blog! Thank you for your wild sense of humor and your deep wisdom.

    Hmm. I will take a deeper look at what stories I have been hangin out with lately.

    Love and harmony,

  11. Bridget
    January 29, 2010 | 11:22 am

    dude- did you hit it on the head with the helpful/not helpful or what?
    It’s like we got tacos and then we can’t decide whether to throw away the wrapper.
    Well, it came with the taco, but it’s not the taco. But it came with it.
    Somebody handed the taco to us in the wrapper. But we ate the taco.
    Should we throw away the wrapper?

    We do this with stories all the time.
    We got the good stuff, should we keep the useless?
    Throw away what does not work! or let your cat lick it. or whatever.
    Don’t just walk around holding it. It’s garbage! Woo-hoo- awesome.
    .-= Bridget´s last blog ..The Animal Communication Experience =-.

  12. Fabeku
    January 29, 2010 | 11:24 am

    @Sulwyn – I’m glad the post came at the right time for you. Wrestling stories can be tough. I so get that.

    @Karen – Thanks. I appreciate the niceness. Glad the practical stuff was helpful too.

    @Andy – I think you’re totally right. There are stories everywhere in our life. Inside us. In our relationships. Our business. Our creativity. Lots of stories. And when there’s dissonance in the equation, stuff can get seriously funky. And sometimes that dissonance can be a much needed heads up to check out the stories.

    @Caz – This is a great example of picking up stories that suck. And how deep those stories can go! I’m glad you’re out there offering some new stories. Rock on!

    @Linnea – Ooh, I really like your epiphany! And I’m happy to hear my timing was good here. Here’s to new stories of much gorgeousness!

    @Michelle – I’m with you. There’s a lot to be said for the gentle approach. Life can be hard enough. Being hard on ourselves just adds more suck.

    @Gina – That’s the tricky thing about stories. Not recognizing they’re there. And how much they’re affecting things. And you’re totally right. Changing our stories can change our life in huge ways. Bigs yays for Holy Shit! moments.

    @Kim – Wow. The idea of teaching this in schools, and how much this would shift stuff really struck a chord for me. Can you imagine? And can I say wow again?

    @Katie – Glad you dug the questions. It’s pretty cool – and kind of amazing – what these simple questions can unlock. It also makes it easier to step out of the chasing-our-tail thing that can happen with story stuff.

    @Sharon – Hey! Glad you bumped into my blog. Thanks for saying hi and hanging out. I appreciate both a lot.

    @Bridget – I love the taco wrapper idea. Because all stories are helpful at some point. Otherwise we wouldn’t have picked them up. But when they’re not helpful anymore – when the taco is happily swimming in our belly – it’s awesome to let them go. Otherwise helpful turns unhelpful. And we end up carrying around the ack.

    Big thanks for all the smartness you guys shared.

  13. juliana
    January 29, 2010 | 2:44 pm

    This is such a great post. I’m loving your style!

    Glad I found you (through Twitter, in case you are curious.)
    .-= juliana´s last blog ..Momentum =-.

  14. Fabeku
    February 1, 2010 | 6:17 pm

    @Juliana – Thanks for your note. And for hanging out. I appreciate it.

  15. Josiane
    February 4, 2010 | 2:16 pm

    I have a tendency to keep my faves for last when I’m catching up, so I’m finally getting to your blog – the yummy piece of chocolate cake at the end of the meal!
    It’s interesting that you published this as I was on my way to Havi’s retreat, because the words that kept coming back to me during the retreat – and kind of became my theme for the week – were openness and curiosity. You’re so right that being curious about our stories can be crazy helpful! What’s hard, sometimes, is to remember that no, they don’t necessarily *belong* there, but once we get into the habit of observing them with curiosity, it becomes way easier…
    .-= Josiane´s last blog ..Taking action instead of resolving to do so =-.

  16. Fabeku
    February 17, 2010 | 6:40 pm

    @Josiane – You called my blog yummy piece of chocolate cake. Yay! I think you’re totally right about the stories-not-belonging-there thing. The more conscious of them we are – the more we get that they’re stories, and not really the way things are – the more room we have to decide what to do with them. Which is pretty awesome really.

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