We tell ourselves stories.
Our whole life experience is built on the stories we told ourselves about ourselves and the circles of our life: family, relationships, career, community. The quality of our life experience will be determined by the quality of those tales, in other words, the way we translate the world we live in will dictate our reality and will echo with every thought, word, and action we take.
When I call it a ‘story’, I do not mean there are many lies we tell ourselves, but rather many truths, in fact, whatever we think, will be the truth for us and that’s why it is so very important to watch our thoughts and even more, to carefully choose them.
I think that one of life’s greatest art is the knowledge of how to design these stories/realities that get us where we want to go. This post is about imagination, as a tool for better life experience. imagination is the tool with which we create this specific art, its the power to go beyond what we know and create a life in the unknown, the unborn. when most people talk about the power of imagination, they refer to our ability to see the future as we want it, imagine it, feel it, talk about it, until it materializes. they are right, this is an awesome power and a way to shape up our future. this post is about shaping our past.
If I can tell myself the kind of stories that enhance the quality of my life, improve my personality, my mood, my service to others, I have a skill that can help me shape up my own world, Inner and outer.
What is the difference between denial and telling myself a story?!
One might ask..as I have.
You might read these words and wonder if I am proposing merely suppression, denial and hiding from what’s real. There is a great difference between the two. Denial is twisting facts and being scared of some options when I experience denial, I can clearly notice that there are some options that I just don’t want to think about, in fact, I use every effort to push them aside and box them away. In case of denial, people can argue with me about whether I am right or wrong and if I pay close attention when denial and suppression are involved, I vibrate fear, anxiety, and confusion.
In the case of creating reality, I am not shaping the facts, but only how I digest the facts, no one can argue with me and instead of shutting some options down I examine all the options I can think of. I feel calm, peaceful and it is a pleasant process.
I’d like to share an example from my own life. I have 3 beautiful brothers which I love tremendously, they are amazing men, in fact, I believe that in all of my love relationships, I was always involved with wonderful men, who treated me amazingly, thanks to the example my brothers set for me. When people hear I have 3 older brothers they usually assume I was an overprotected little princess, shield by the 3 men, who examined every boyfriend that came through the door. The truth was not so.
My parents started having children at a very young age and so by the time I was born, my older brother was 16, the second was 12, then 5, the age differences and the place we grew up in, made our connection quit slim. Don’t get me wrong, my brothers drove me, took me, showed me, taught me, build for me and mostly made me laugh, but I don’t have the protected siblings people always seemed to ask about.
As a teen, I experience denial in this matter. I sometimes wondered why my brothers are not like that with me, maybe I am not worth protecting, maybe I’m not so pretty and in no need of that guarding. Why won’t they call me and ask if I am ok every day or every week, why aren’t they more worried about me, their only sister. When people assumed of that protective nature of my family, I often answered ‘yes this is how it is’, I lied. Because I wanted it to be like that, I mean what should I say that they didn’t really care who am I dating?! That made me feel so bad about myself and I not only lied but also convinced myself that this is how things were. I twisted the reality in my own head. That is denial, I oppressed the unbearable truth, I changed facts and if you wanted to argue with me, you could have, you could argue that my brothers are simply not the kind of type I make them be.
Creating my experience / telling myself a story
As I grew older and started to know myself better things have changed. I have lived in New York for 10 years of my young adult life, this time was so very important for me, this time had shaped me and revealed who I am, is far and away from my family is an inseparable part of the story that is called my life. Once at home, I had a heart to heart talk with my mom, I was reflecting on what it meant for me to be in NY and do what I did, how much it gave me and made me happy, how staying at home, in the small place I grew up in (almost everyone stayed) would make me miserable and bitter and I am just delighted that I went after my dream. when I went to sleep that night, I came back to thoughts about my brothers, at the time I was already honest with myself on how things are, still, it was a delicate issue for me, it made me feel bad. Suddenly I realized that I can put the two together.
The story I tell myself until today is so: if my brothers were overprotective and surrounding me 24/7 I might have troubles living without them, I might be very attached and could not live far, that would make me unhappy, but the strings of family love just might have been stronger than my dream, that existed only in the realm of maybe.
By now, I honestly feel that I was the one who was rejecting any type of overprotection, it wasn’t even my brothers who are this way or that way, but my young self that deep down knew she needs to develop independence, so later I could live far from home and be who I was meant to be. By changing my perspective, I managed to change the past.
And so I made peace with it. It took time to see things from a new angle, but the tool was imagination and the conviction – my circumstances work best for me.
You can’t argue with me on that, because it is not denial, this is how I choose to digest the facts. All it did is transform the feeling of unworthiness, to feelings of great trust in the process of my life.
I try to apply this kind of imagination to every part of my being that I had a fight with, ‘Why was I born in a place of conflict?’ ‘why did I have to serve in the army?’ ‘why is this person so hard on me?’ ‘why do I have to sit in this fucking traffic?’ etc.. it works. this is not easy, because some people have very hard past experiences, but with this tool, I think we can offer ourselves the peace we deserve, anything you don’t like about yourself or about any given moment, can be adjusted with imagination.
In fact, I think this is why art is so important in our culture, so we can develop that skill and create a peaceful reality for ourselves. I often talk about the difference between pain and suffering, a huge topic for another post, but for now, I’m going to say that I am not trying to eliminate pain, but trying to release suffering. Pain is beautiful, I can still feel some pain about my brothers, but I do not suffer anymore from feeling less important or less worthy.
Does that make sense?
If you are a positive person, this is not news for you, you do it naturally, but if you are having trouble with some facts of your being, know that there is a way to change even the past. I think this should be a class in children’s school, I would call this class – ‘Tell me a story that makes you feel good’ or ‘imagination’. In this class, the teacher would present to the kids a situation that is not pleasant and the kids will have to imagine and tell the class a background story that would make this situation a positive one. Would you send your children to such class?
There is indeed so much pain and suffering in the world, how do I ask a kid in a war zone to imagine a good story, but that is why even more so, we need to vibrate with trust and peace, maybe this energy will make a better world for those who are helpless.
Dedicated with love and admiration to Albert Einstein ❤