Getting Out of Your Own Story
Last week I was watching the Olympic Games judo competition. A young American named Kayla Harrison had just won her first gold medal. What was so interesting was that Kayla had a history of being sexually abused by her former coach who is now in prison.
The impressive things about Kayla was that while she had been victimized as a young athlete, she didn’t stay in her sad story. She escaped. In an interview she said that people could look at her and do the same because she was no longer a captive to her story. So I asked myself what stories am I still a captive in? What has happened to me where I felt there was some kind of wrong doing, and then how can I escape them? The best stories are the ones about the escapees, not the sad ones, Kayla’s is a great story because she is no longer in it.
When you are still trapped in your story, it means that you are hanging onto something about it that is negative. Whatever the story is you can leave the negative emotions behind and jump fully into the story you want to have. Many of our sad stories are about injustices because for the most part, the world doesn’t operate yet according to the principles of justice. It still pretty much operates on who is in charge and what their whims are. Just like in Kayla’s case. I want to be more like her. I want to have a better happier story to tell.
The main reason we stay stuck in a bad story is that we want others to give us our lives, give us our virtues and capacities. We think a lot of if only thoughts. If only my boss where more encouraging. If only my spouse were more loving. If only the people in this office were friendlier. We escape the trap by doing our own work and developing our great capacities. When we are more encouraging, friendly and loving, then great things happen and it becomes a beautiful story. As soon as we wait for others to change to give us a great story, then the story turns dreadful.
There is a story of a young American who went to Brazil and made a mistake by doing some drug deals. He was caught and ended up having to spend 4 years in the worst prison there. When he came to terms with his life, he started creating his own story by learning Portuguese, how to meditate, and how to lead a better life. When he got out of prison, he fell in love with a Brazilian woman. Had he not gone to prison he probably would have never learned Portuguese nor learned how to become a decent person. So he wouldn’t have met his bride. Now that is a good story.