When we’re children, the story we’re shaped by is the one our parents tell for us. We understand the world through their lenses. When we’re teenagers, we start to rebel against this imposed story. We try to create our own story, but once into adulthood, we’re often still carrying around stories from the past. Most of the time, we don’t even realize this is the case until we’re well into creating a family and career of our own.
Once we get to this point of realizing that we are living other people’s stories, it can feel like a massive string ball entangling us. The more we struggle against this reality, the more the strings tighten around us because, after all, what story is there to replace the ones we’ve been living by? How do we create personalized, authentic stories that allow us to take our place in our own lives and in the world at large?
Here are four ways you can take your place and create a life that feels right for you.
Go back to your childhood: Think back to what you loved to do when you were a child. What gave you joy? What things did you do just for the fun of it? Quickly jot down a list of these activities, no matter how silly or small. Don’t overthink it. Then write about how you felt in those moments.
In these activities lie the seeds of your authentic self, and writing about them will help you reconnect with these forgotten parts of yourself. When you are fully absorbed in the experience of a day at the beach, picking seashells and making sandcastles, you’re living a pure moment that reflects the inherent joy you have within you. When your adult self validates them by writing them down, you are on the road to integrating parts of your lost creativity.
That creativity is what will help you create your authentic personal narrative and identity. Recapturing those memories means you are putting the pieces of your real self back together so you can go forward in a more integrated way.
Put Yourself First: That joy you were just writing about? Go experience it again. Put yourself in that mindset to feel what it was like when you were happy, content and joyful.
If you loved playing the drums when you were a kid, dust off your kit. If you loved drawing, drag out your sketchbook and crayons. Do it and let yourself feel good. Reconnect to what brings you authentic enjoyment.
Then make a commitment to do something that puts yourself first on a regular basis. The only way to take your place in the world is by being consistent with your commitment to the story of you.
Reframe Your Narrative: It’s said that nature abhors a vacuum. This means that when you don’t tell your story in word and deed, others will fill the void with their own story about you.
But when you put yourself first, you are taking control of your narrative. You also validate that you are important and unique. This teaches those around you how you want to be viewed and treated. If you don’t do this, then other people will impose their stories on you.
To help you solidify your emerging story of you, keep a journal about your progress. Write about the link between those childhood events and the person you are today. When you do this, you are reframing the past — reclaiming events in a new and positive framework that help you create a personal story that guides you as you move forward.
Do It Just Because: This last way to be the author of your own story is perhaps the trickiest — doing something just for the sheer joy of it. Because we live in a highly monetized world, it’s hard to justify doing something that doesn’t appear to have an immediate return on investment. But the things we do in our lives when no one is looking, when no one expects anything from you, and when you are not attached to the outcome, these activities speak volumes about who you want to be.
Spend time with you on a regular basis so that you recharge your batteries, get perspective and make better decisions about your life. Do it to share your unique story with the world in ways that enrich you and those around you.
Use these four ways to be the author of your own story. Consistently showing up to the pages of your life is a creative, liberating and ultimately loving act.
What will be your first step to becoming the author of your own story? Post below to let me know.
Originally published at medium.com