Stories

Who are you? How would you describe yourself?

For years I have been a self-declared “non-morning”. Belonging to what I assume is a large group of like-minded people, I didn’t think much of it until recently. After all, when did I decide that I wasn’t a morning person? How did I even come to that conclusion about myself? And what other unchecked “facts” about me have I been holding onto?

I had made up my mind a long time ago that life was a challenging and grueling game that you have to spend your life trying to win. There was very much a sense that you had to hack, push or otherwise force what you wanted to happen with the understanding that life will not be your ally, unless you are rich or lucky. I was definitely a fearful person – or at least I was convinced that was my truth.

I started thinking about my parents, two people who live their life in fear. The fear that bred inside them was palpable to the outside world. It convinced my mother she was incapable of being independent and it nurtured my father’s conviction that the world is out to get you. I certainly felt this energy constantly – I’m not sure at what point it became my own energy as well, transforming me into a submissive, passive and fearful creature.

Sure enough, the world soon became a dangerous place to me, as well as the people in it. I became a chronic people pleaser, which is a much nicer way of saying manipulative. I would appease whomever I needed to in order to ensure I was on everyone’s “good side”. The threat of losing someone’s love or approval trumped the need for honesty, boundaries or self-respect. And so began my years and years of unconscious, self-destructive and deceitful behavior. Though at the time I was unaware of it, I was costing myself so much unnecessary pain and reinforcing the very fear I was desperate to believe wasn’t true: I am completely insignificant.

Our deepest-rooted fears aren’t always as obvious as one would think, especially if you’ve never taken the time to do some investigating. You might think you were cheating on your boyfriend because you were bored but it might never occur to you that it’s actually because you think you’re a worthless piece of shit. The beautiful thing about it though is, once you figure out what your darkest fear is, a newfound sense self-awareness comes to life. It’s like waking up abruptly from a nightmare– you’re on high alert. You are suddenly shown the “why”, the motivation behind everything you say, do and think. It is your core conditioning. And once you become aware of it, you can start to change it!

There is such empowerment in realizing that how we behave is a response to whatever story we’re playing out. And trust me, that fear is trying to feed you a story. And our lives, and the choices we make, will continue to perpetuate that story, as long as we continue to remain a believer of it. It is in recognizing that we have a choice as to whether or not to continue participating, that we can then start playing out a new storyline.

Take an example from childhood … Santa Claus. Some of us were raised to believe he existed. It was completely a part of our “truth”, that Santa was a real person who lived in the North Pole and brought us presents once a year. We were as sure of this fact as we were of our names. And there is a ton of “evidence” to support that story like songs, pictures of him, movies about him. If you believe a story so strongly, you will see proof of it everywhere. But then what happens? One day our parents tell us that he doesn’t exist – it’s just one big lie that you bought into it. We feel shocked, heartbroken and maybe even betrayed. Then after time, we let those feelings go, release Santa from our storyline, and start a new storyline as children who no longer believe in Santa. We are instantly transformed.

So what if, like Santa, we can take other “truths” that we’re still hanging onto and let those go? What if we decide that everything that is holding us back is just as easy to let go of? Perhaps in letting go of our attachments to these convictions, to these stories, we can begin to realize that we therefore always have the ability to choose what gets to be a part of our storyline.

You’re the director.

You’ve got final cut … so start editing.

Julia Piantini