Why Your Story Matters
Every one of us has a story. The roots of each of our stories reaches deeper than we can remember and has chapters in previous generations. Some of the “backstory” that set the stage for your journey, challenges and gifts involves psychological dynamics that unfolded many years ago, setting the stage for the kind of parenting you received and the messages you heard about whether to follow your dreams or ignore them, take risks or not, insist on truth and real love or not.
Part of your story is encoded in the DNA passed down to you through the generations, too. Are you muscular and athletic or not? Are you particularly intuitive or not? Are you analytically minded or not? Are you vulnerable to physical illnesses that can disrupt your momentum? Are you more challenged with weight issues or a tendency toward addiction or a tendency toward obsessiveness?
In order to optimize your life story you need to know everything you can about all the contributions made to it by as many different factors as possible. What did you live through as a child and adolescent and young adult that shaped your perspectives? What did your parents live through? What did their parents live through? How did the chapters of your life story, to date, reflect unconscious dynamics set in motion by events or influences over which you had no control?
Once you know what has shaped your life story, you have the power to write much more compelling chapters going forward. You can SEE more clearly how to choose how you wish to act, purely from your core, not as a set of automatic reflexes triggered by conditioning and, therefore, outside your control.
Why put in the work, though? What difference does it really make whether you get to the bottom of “who you are” and what you are here to do and what you really value? The answer is simple: You have elemental, essential worth as part of the fabric of humanity. You are a thread in the great tapestry of what is being created on this planet. You and your story matter.
If you free yourself from old, tired influences and habits, in order to be a better listener for your kids, then all the effort of getting to your core self will have been well worth it. If you burrow to the core of what you value, in order to pursue a profession, or participate in an art form, or put effort into political goals you find meaningful, then not only do you become self-actualized, but all those with whom you interact are elevated.
Only the true, self-actualized you can deliver what the world around you needs and deserves from you. Yes, it may feel like a risk to burrow to your core and find where your feet feel most solidly planted. But, I promise you that that perceived risk is a paper tiger. The real risk is not taking that journey—the journey of a lifetime.
Dr. Keith Ablow
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