What does it mean to really own our life story?
In a nutshell we are finding out what makes us take the actions we take every day. What makes us do the rituals we do daily? Why do we get up before the kids to get organised? Or why do we leave it to the last minute and feel behind for the rest of the day?
You might say “It’s just my personality”.
So, let’s look at the word personality and define it a little. It comes from the Latin word “persona” which means mask and refers to the masks worn in theatres in ancient times so that actors could better portray their roles. Interesting isn’t it that it comes from the word mask? And of course, these days we develop customer personas when we want to target different audiences for our business!
So, let’s look under this mask to find the traits and characteristics that form an individual’s personality.
It is well known that circumstances in our environment growing up have a huge effect on the way our personality is formed. Or rather how we perceived those circumstances. Did we perceive our caregivers supported us to be just the way we were or, how did we feel when we opened our mouth to speak?
As well as that we have our internal mechanisms at work, the patterns we are born with. All little girls just don’t behave the same; sometimes we see little girls hanging upside down from trees, preferring to play with the boys and sometimes we see little girls surrounded by dolls and appalled at the mere sight of a mucky boy coming near them!
We may have been a curious child or we may have been a day dreamer.
So, these internal ways coupled with learned behaviours form what we call our personality.
And this is where the concept of Owning our Life Story comes in.
So why do I say we need to Own our Life Story?
If all is well in our life and our story fits us then that’s ok. However, it is when an integral part of our story is false to us, doesn’t quite fit us, doesn’t sit well with us that we can do well to look at our story and pluck out the facts. Perhaps we are exhausted all the time from keeping this mask shiny but aren’t aware that we are in fact doing this. It’s ok, we can all do this and there is no self-blame needed.
Maybe when we were that tom boy it didn’t fit in with what our parents wanted from a daughter, maybe we weren’t allowed to be this free spirit that is innately us. No guilt or blame either on well-meaning parents who may have, wanting the best for their daughter, moulded her to conform to fit in with the other girls. If we harbour blame then this is also part of our story and we may go on to have a pattern of blame in our lives.
If that little girl is taken down from the tree and is pedicured and manicured within an inch of perfection it is how she reacts to this that creates a life experience for her and, is part of her life story.
So again, it’s back to perception of how we perceived events that happened to us in the past.
So, let’s take my free spirited little nature lover girl. How did she react to what was going on around her? Did she fight when she was forced down from the tree, was she brought kicking and screaming and constantly rebelling and saying; “No I won’t, I don’t want to, I hate dolls, I don’t want to wear dresses”?
Is her perception that she is not allowed to be herself? How is her self-esteem? Does she internalise the story; “Nobody likes me the way I am but I don’t care I am going to be me anyway”.
Or does she comply and squash down that part of herself, the very essence that makes her who she is? Does she put on a mask that hides this part of her because she realises life is easier when she is not herself and, that she is better of complying with what others tell her she should be.
What is her self-esteem like? What story does she internalise; “It is not good to be me, I need to be someone else to be liked or to fit in”.
There are so many circumstances and different stories that make us up but when we really own that story .. the one that reveals to us why we are who we are, why we do what we do then we find the essence of who we are.
We can then start to build a life that is aligned with this real person; whether we are a little girl who hangs upside down on trees or the studious girl whose nature is to get ahead and do what is needed to get there.
We are all unique and when we get to find this story and own it, we can jump into our own skin and be the best version of ourselves that we truly can be.
That’s when the magic starts happening.