Each of our lives is a story. The ending hasn’t been written yet…even if we have breathed our last of this earthly atmosphere. And our stories are a distillation of the stories we have been told during our lives by those we know, by those we don’t know, and especially by ourselves. It can be no other way. From the time we take our first breath…and maybe even before, if our mothers played music to influence us in utero…we are influenced by the stories of our families, cultures and environments. At a very young age, we don’t know enough to reject certain stories that are put upon us by those we love and into the homes where we grow up. But as we grow up, we begin to realize that there are other stories that are believed by others which differ greatly from the stories we have agreed to believe. In fact, we soon find out that stories are intentionally thrust upon us for the purpose of someone else's gains. This is the whole purpose of marketing and can be inclusive of politics and religion. In the end, we choose which stories we are going to agree with and use to write our own personal story. There really is much truth in the saying that “Each of us believes what we want to believe”. When you think about it, that makes perfect sense. None of us will change our beliefs unless something happens that motivates us in that direction. For many, this is a life altering event, or some kind of near death experience. The same principle holds true for the Alcoholics Anonymous program when they say that a person isn’t ready to change and become sober unless he hits “rock bottom”. Basically coming to a point in life where everything is lost because of a persistent belief (i.e. “I can handle alcohol”), and agreeing with another story line: “I can’t handle alcohol…it has caused me the loss of all things in life that matter…and, I need help to beat this thing”. These changes in life beliefs do not come easy or without great price. How silly it is of us to think that we can argue and debate with someone to change the very core of their being which is what our agreed upon stories really are in the end.
If we are living our lives in a perception of equilibrium, there will be no reason for us to change. It is only when some force, whether external or internal…or a combination of both, causes a disequilibrium and discomfort in our lives that we will begin to be open to changing our agreements with certain stories. There is nothing magical about this, nor is this particularly insightful. But it is something worth remembering when we see how others live, and even to understand the reason why we do what we do, and to realize that we are seeing the world through the lenses of our own agreed upon stories.