This week I was intending to write something about values and beliefs but the comments in response to last week’s blog got me thinking that I had to write a companion piece on stories. Particularly the stories we tell ourselves, you know the ones, “I’m stupid”, “I can’t do that” and “I’m not good enough”. (Or indeed your own personal variations). These are of course merely the chapter titles to long and intricate volumes of self doubt or recrimination, we don’t even need to reread the detail after a while we become so familiar with their text. Sometimes they come in our own words, sometimes as if read to us by a parent, an old teacher or a long lost love. We keep them on the library shelves of our mind even when the jackets are worn with age and lettering almost indistinct. They are comforting in their way, often dating from childhood or the first few years of work but unlike outgrown clothes or our student futons we never seem to throw them away. Often family and friends quote from them at great length something which upsets us but still rarely prompts us to put new stories in our personal library.
Interestingly we seem happy to share these old favourites with new friends and colleagues and thereby perpetuate their popularity. We even manage to pen slim new novellas based on more recent experience. As pale imitations of the originals they tend to lack the same intensity but are destructive in their own way.
I appreciate that I can’t really ask you to comment below and tell me what your personal stories are but I urge you to take a look at the library of your mind, discard some of those old stories and write some new ones, based on the successes you’ve had, the great things you’ve done and perhaps most importantly the fact that you’re doing a pretty good job thanks very much.