The earliest written literature appears to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia. The Sumerian writings were developed around 3400 B.C. by marking on clay tablets in a cuneiform script.
As we fast-forward to today, the literature we write has evolved. The way we communicate, connect and collaborate has BECOME. But telling stories has remained the same. Stories we share allow us to visit the past, embrace the present and envision the future. Stories transcend time and space; she is the voice that allows us to hear from our predecessors.
Over the years, we have listened to the most incredible storytellers who helped educate, equip and empower us toward our path.
Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, telling us how humanity originated. Jesus shared parables for his followers of an eternal kingdom. Mahatma Gandhi nurtured the thoughts of independence and freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. woke up to tell us his dreams of racial equity and equality. President Barack Obama told stories of hope for America’s future. We share with each of these past generations, and our future generations are the single thread of a story.
I grew up telling myself stories that I was not good enough, an impostor. I was the victim of abuse by family, I was rejected and neglected by my church communities. The stories of church pain spiritually impacted my ability to connect with God (Yahweh). Being abused by family affected my ability to trust and connect with others. Not feeling good enough led me into things that were unhealthy, just to taste the emotions of worthiness. The impostor syndrome left me feeling paralyzed when it was time for me to share my thoughts.
The stories I used to tell myself shaped the reality that I lived.
Imagine a world where the stories we shared were stories of innovation, inclusivity, collaboration, creation and social celebration. Imagine what experiences that would create for the people around us and for us. If we can realize the power that our words command, we would choose them wisely. The words we habitually use also affect how we communicate with ourselves and others, and therefore what we experience.
So as you practice self-reflection, I would like to encourage you to think of the stories you’ve told yourself: Are those stories of faith or fear? Faith pulls us forward into the future, while fear makes us retract and play small. Simply by changing our habitual vocabulary — the words we consistently use to describe our lives’ emotions — we can instantaneously change how we think, feel and live.
Recently, I sat down with a friend to learn more about her story, and I was taken aback by how much adversity she has experienced. What intrigued me the most
was the fact that she consistently showed up even through the pain. How can we move forward when we experience death, betrayal, abandonment and neglect? We discovered that the line of desperation and determination lies in the stories we tell ourselves.
If we want to change our lives and shape our destiny, we need to select the words we’re going to use consciously, and we need to strive to expand our level of choice continually.
The stories we tell today shape the way we communicate, connect and collaborate with those around us. Stories are just like glasses — if our glasses haven’t been cleaned, we will see the rest of the world through dirty lenses. But if we were to clean them, the way we view ourselves and others would change.
So I challenge you to change your perspective of limitation to a story of possibility for the next 60 days.