I’ve heard it said that when we tell the “story of our life” if should really more closely resemble a weight watchers of AA meeting than a storybook or movie. The difference? An ending.
We like to tell stories that make it sound like we’ve overcome all the bad that has come into our lives. We like to believe that the worst of everything is behind us. We like to talk about how great it was for us to go through that terrible time in life, but what we are really saying is “…and thank goodness it’s all over. I’ve paid my dues and now my life is great.”
At an AA or weight watchers meeting, (or so I’ve been told) stories are told as more of a window into a process. Yes, there’s been movement from there to here, but not all in a great trajectory or even in one direction. Yes, I have goals I’m heading for, but they aren’t a destination. It may not seem like a big deal, but the difference isn’t really in the telling of the story, it’s in the hearing of the story.
If you are really struggling with life and all you hear are stories of people who are “winning their battle” with this or that, is it really encouraging? Of do you start to feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t have any idea how to get from “here” to “there”? Like your story is the only one that feels like fragmented pieces.
Having someone cheer you on from the finish line is one thing. It’s another to have someone run along with you.
Most of us aren’t at the happy ending. We spend most of life somewhere in the middle. The journey is a struggle, but we need to stop assuming that everyone else is at the end or at least running in the right direction, while we somehow are the only ones who feel lost and alone.
Although it seems to be more acceptable recently to express honest frustration with life failures, I’m not sure we know where to go beyond that. It is my belief that everything we do should be in an effort to make this world a better place for all of us. In opening these “windows” to our lives, I don’t wish to add more to the voyeurism that abounds or to the self-centeredness that blogging often becomes. What I wish to do is have a place to brainstorm with like-minded people. Where we can come together and honestly discuss what is hard about life and how we can help not only each other but everyone that our lives individually touch. A place where we can be honest enough with each other to point out illogical assumptions, but also open minded enough to say “wow – I’ve never looked at it like that before”.