We all grow up with stories. A story about our family, about the world, our parents, our siblings, about life, money and success and most importantly about ourselves and what is possible for us. Sometimes the stories are told explicitly (“when your grandfather was up in the mountains defending his country…”). But more often they are passed on in the silent expectations and approvals passed down through generations. We learn quite early what is acceptable and what we should be ashamed of. If working hard, being efficient and doing what you’re expected to do, is part of your family’s story, taking a break, slowing down, finding out what you truly want, will make you feel uncomfortable and cause a lot of guilt and shame. Becoming aware of these shame triggers is one of the most important work we can do for our personal growth and development.
Uncovering the stories and the conditioning is not an easy process. Whatever the underlying message is, it is deeply ingrained into our system, our psyche since childhood and most of the time we accept it uncensored, unconscious and un-reflected. Questioning these believes and opening ourselves up to new possibilities and horizons is scary because it goes to the core of who we are. It’s like shedding the skin of an old identity and growing into a new one.
However, we know people have defied their childhood imprints. It’s the “I will show you all” phenomenon and I’ve felt this sullen fire inside me a few times in my life. They have stuck to their inner knowing, passion and creativity and become very successful in the process.
For a long time our western society has also been very clear on the story of success: get a good job, make loads of money, get married, have kids, a big house, a big car, a dog and you’ll live happily ever after. The life paths to choose from were quite limited. Today, more and more people are waking up to the realization that these stories don’t always end like that and they find themselves in the peak of their years with a life that looks perfect from the outside, yet feeling empty, unsatisfied, even depressed, tired and burnt out on the inside. There are more possibilities for happiness. Today we have the challenge and opportunity to create our own unique life paths. And living an authentic and present life sometimes means letting go of that collective story and finding our own beautiful, weird, unpredictable, complicated and unique life story.
Growing up emotionally and becoming an integrated personality means taking time to uncover these believes that limit us and keep us small. Because when I sit down, be quiet and truly listen I sense a different light and truth and a different path bubbling up inside me.
Aren’t you tired of the stories you’ve been told about yourself? I know I am. It’s time to recognize them for what they are – stories. And stories can be changed.