YOU ARE NOT THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE

If we were to ask you where you grew up or went to school or inquire about your favorite foods, you would be able to supply the answers in great detail. Your story contains the history of your life and relationships, highlighting those wonderful, positive experiences as well as the negative ones.

People define themselves by their stories. If you want to know what your story consists of, start to notice the labels or internal conversations that you have. Here are some examples of the ways in which you might categorize yourself:


Man/woman Stupid
Single  Divorced
American  Intelligent
Not good enough  Teacher
Good listener  Misunderstood
From a broken home  Christian/Jewish/Muslim
Alcoholic  No good in relationships
Mother/father  Too fat

Of course, this is just a very limited list that we are using here as an example of some of the labels that people affix to themselves. If you look, you will find that there are many labels from your own experience that you can add.

THE LIMITATIONS OF LABELING YOURSELF
Your story—whether good, bad, or indifferent—is limiting. It defines what is possible for you in your life. Once in place, a story is self-sustaining. It gathers evidence to prove itself right.

A computer can only extrapolate from what it already knows or, in other words, out of the information that is
contained in it. It cannot conceive of anything outside of its known set of information. It is the same for the human mind. It is impossible to conceive of possibilities outside the known.
There is a principle in quantum physics that states that a subatomic particle can exist simultaneously everywhere in the universe. A particle has infinite possibilities of existence until it is measured. Once measured, however, it is forever defined by that measurement, and that is its only possibility. Human
beings also have infinite possibilities for their lives. But, as with subatomic particles, the moment you label yourself, you restrict your potential from limitless down to the narrow label by which you have defined yourself.

Let’s take a moment to draw a distinction between the fact that you are a man or a woman, and using the label of your gender as a primary source for your self-identification.
Here is an example: George is a man. He can either filter his life events through that perspective—use it as the reason for things that happen and justify his actions by saying, “I am a man, therefore . . .”—or he can live his life as a human being who happens to be male. In the former scenario, his gender dictates and determines his interpretation of his life experiences. 

In the latter, the individual that he is determines his life and he just happens to be a man. The first allows no responsibility. Everything is blamed on the gender he was born with: Because I am a man [or black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, young, old, tall, short, Christian, Jewish, etc.], that is why people treat me the way they do. The second allows for responsibility, the ability to respond appropriately, to the events that occur in his life.

Here is another example of how taking a fact about your life and using it as a label limits you. Colleen got a divorce, and the separation was painful. Two years later, when she started to get her life back together, she joined a support group that was comprised of men and women who were going through the divorce process. It was helpful to know that she wasn’t alone in grieving and in her sense of confusion and anger at the dissolution of her marriage. However, the group also had a limitation that soon became apparent. Its dynamics were such that people who started to date and have fun were not well tolerated. There was an unstated commitment to being part of a group of “divorcees.” 

LIVING BY THE RULES
You have a story about the way you are, but you also have one about the way things should be. You have a system of rules that dictate your behavior, and many of these rules are unexamined. 
They were given to you or made up by you when you were young. This system includes what is proper behavior in relationships—how a man should be, how a woman should be—and if you blindly live by these rules, any relationship is doomed to fail.

If you pigeonhole yourself and use the rules of etiquette to determine your proper behavior rather than looking and seeing what your truth is as an individual, then there is no possibility for true self-expression. The culturally imposed dictates of proper male or female behavior, or the resistance to those rules, run your relationship, if not your life. 

As you grew up, you were programmed with overlapping sets of rules, and they conflict with each other. Here is an example: One day we got into an elevator and pressed the button for the lobby. Two floors down, a woman got into the elevator car. She appeared to be an executive employed in the building. Before reaching the lobby, the car stopped again and two men entered. When we arrived at the ground floor, the
woman got irritated with the men for not stepping aside to let her exit first. If you were to ask her, she would probably tell you that she wants to be treated equally and that she doesn’t like it when someone is condescending to her because she is a woman. But she also has unexamined rules of etiquette that confl ict with her experience as an individual. This type of conflict can destroy the possibility of having a magical relationship— I want to be an independent woman, but why didn’t you open the door for me?

These rules of etiquette, which are culturally derived from the past, may not be relevant or true for you as an individual. And if you apply them to relationships, you will always be inappropriate. To be appropriate, you must look and see what is true in each moment rather than apply a rule. When you get into the moment, you still have the story of your life, but it loses its power over you.

A TRANSFORMATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Reality is a function of agreement. In other words, if enough people agree that something is true, then it becomes the truth. Ultimately it may not be accurate, but for the moment, by virtue of popular opinion, it is. For instance, there was a time when everybody “knew” that the world was fl at. It was the prevalent point of view and held to be the truth. In our world today, there is the view that we are the result of our upbringing
and our experiences and that these experiences have not only formed who we are, but will also determine what is possible for us in the future. From this point of view, our lives are predetermined by what has happened in the past. In effect, the story of our lives, left unexamined, has ultimate power over us.
We would like to offer another possibility: a transformational point of view. From a transformational
perspective, it is possible to notice that you have a story or an idea of who you are, but you do not have to
believe that this idea is the truth. What if that story actually has nothing to do with how you live your life or
how well you create relationships from this moment forward? This is what it will take. You will have to start looking to identify how much of the time that story is actually a complaint. You will need to see how your internal conversation complains about your life and justifies itself for complaining.

Here are some examples of how the conversation that you listen to and believe to be you might sound:

I am depressed because it is raining.
I don’t really want a relationship anyway.
My parents raised me wrong.
I am upset because my boyfriend left me.
I am better off alone.
I am no good at dating.
I am a mess because I came from a dysfunctional family.
I am not relationship material.

If you bring your awareness to the conversation you listen to, you will start to recognize certain patterns of thought that heretofore you believed to be true. Again, our definition of awareness is a nonjudgmental seeing of what is. Awareness allows for recognition. Recognition leads to resolution. As you recognize thought patterns and do not make what you discover right or wrong (again, awareness is a nonjudgmental seeing),
you will not have to believe or engage in these thoughts.

Letting go of your story will take courage—a lot of courage— because the story is familiar. It is like an old friend who has been there with you forever. The story is the known. But with courage, you can be your own Columbus, off to discover a whole new world.

THERE ARE NO HAPPY VICTIMS
By definition, a victim is one who is abused in some way by another or by life’s circumstances. Have you ever seen a happy victim? One of the prerequisites of being a victim is to be sad or demoralized or upset. Frequently, we victimize ourselves by listening to our own thoughts and believing that what we are telling ourselves is true.

THE THREE PRINCIPLES OF INSTANTANEOUS TRANSFORMATION AND THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE

Let’s revisit the Three Principles of Instantaneous Transformation in relation to the story of your life. First, what you resist persists. Therefore, anything that you have resisted in your life story, such as your parents divorcing or your own failed relationships, will persist and tend to dominate your life. Second, no two things can occupy the same space at the same time. Third, anything that you allow to be exactly as it is will complete itself and lose its power over your life. 

You can either be right about your story or you can have a life and create the possibility of magical relationships. 


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