What kind of character are you? What kind of story are you in? Because so much of how we picture the world, picture our lives, make meaning of things, seems to be through telling stories, fitting things into stories, it’s interesting to imagine our lives as stories that we’re part of.
Imagine being in a movie or a book.
Who would you be? What kind of a movie would you be in, and what kind of character would you be? Same for a book.
A common piece of advice that you might hear is that it’s important to be the hero of your own story.
Don’t just be an extra in somebody else’s story.
You want to be your own main character.
But on the other hand, there’s seemingly contradictory advice that we shouldn’t make our lives all about ourselves.
If we just live for ourselves, we can never find satisfaction.
We can only find satisfaction through being part of something bigger, being a small part of a larger story.
And that makes it sound like, well, we should be minor characters, perhaps, in a movie where somebody else is the star.
So it seems to me like really we can be part of more than one story.
There isn’t just one story of our lives.
No single story, one movie, one novel, could capture a full life.
We play so many different parts in our lives, of so many different stories.
So one kind of story we can imagine is a story where we are the main character.
The story of our lives.
Probably that would be too much for a single movie or novel, of course.
We could have multiple different perspectives.
Imagine you had one movie about one aspect of your life, or another about another.
So there’s no requirement to condense everything into a single storyline.
But you could imagine that as a story topic, a story for a movie franchise, or a whole series of books, and that could be your life.
You are the main character, and it’s about everything in your life, everything that matters to you, everything that you do that you care about.
For this story, it seems like it is very useful to remember that you are the main character.
You can be the hero of your own story, the protagonist.
Now, whether you’re a hero, antihero, or something else, that is maybe up to you.
But you can certainly have the sense of being your own character in your own story, and in a sense, you control it. […]
We can make decisions about not only what our character does, but how we interpret the situation, what we choose to write about and make the central points of the story.
But we still have to work with the people around us and the situation that we’re in.
And there, I think it is good to remember that we have this story, and we have this power to influence our own story, and we can let ourselves be the centre of that story.
It’s not selfish or wrong to be the centre of our personal story.
It seems like some people have a hard time taking on this central role, and feel more comfortable to be part of somebody else’s book.
But I believe this is one of our stories that we are part of, and we can always claim that.
And it can be very useful to remember, “Wait a minute.
I can actually make these decisions about my life.
This is my story.
I can choose what it’s going to be about.
I can choose what I’m going to focus on in my life, what I’m going to care about, what I consider to be the important points.
And if other people tell me that I need to be thinking about this or that, well, that’s part of their story, maybe another story.
But I still have my control over my own personal story.” And while we’re interacting with other people, good to remember that each of them also has their own story, in which we are peripheral characters.
Maybe just extras.
Maybe even written out entirely of their story, we’re just irrelevant to their story.
Or maybe we could be central characters in their story.
But, in their personal stories, we are at most supporting characters.
Now, because we can be part of more than one, in fact so many stories that we can have a role in, we can also play an important role in a bigger story, a story that is bigger than any one life. […]
While at the same time, each of us always has that personal story.
So that extra who spoke up in the middle of the movie and tried to make it about himself: it was the wrong place for that, but that extra has his own movie where he’s the star.
We all have that.
So we have both.
We can be minor characters supporting a larger project, and we can also have our own personal story where we are the stars.
We can choose what stories we want to be a part of and decide how we are going to play our roles within them to support and build the story.
#lifestory #yourownstory #yourcharacter