They say everyone has a story about themselves and of the world they inhabit. For some of us the world is a curiosity and we are forever marveling. For some its a dangerous place and we are forever scared. For some others its a chaotic place and we are forever trying to make sense.
But we also have stories about ourselves. We define ourselves by these. We may think we are victims treated unfairly. We may think we are too clever for everyone else. We may think we are weak. We may think we fall short of expectations of others. We may even think we are responsible for all the bad things around or that if only we could change things somehow.
All of these beliefs, these stories, keep us awake at night, worrying about how what we said or did under the influence of these stories affected the rest of our lives. Every once in a while, we come across someone who would challenge us and make us look at how we tell these stories about ourselves and hurt others and ourselves. This person could be a rival but most of the times is a loved one. We then step into the eternal dance of blaming ourselves, our habits, parents, God even to confirm how our stories are true. We love our stories so much that we don’t give them up even in the face of evidence. Some of these stories are passed on to us, some we develop over time.
But the thing I have realised now is these stories play out only if we believe them. Someone may accuse us or imply something about us, that hurts us only when we believe it in some part. We needn’t even have done such a thing, sometimes our own goodness or habit of giving things a benefit of doubt may make us think that’s what others thought of us. I have seen brilliant and compassionate people think that they were not doing the best they could. Probably they bought into someone else’s story about them. The key is not believe these stories. Maybe the person who said that was just momentarily upset. Maybe that person was projecting their flaws on you.
What also hurts is when your story affected someone you cared about. Its tough to forgive yourself for hurting someone. Yes, you learn for sure this time that your story about yourself was utter rubbish, but is it worth it if it comes at someone else’s cost? You cannot change what happened, you can only apologise, but you may not get restitution. Time to throw the story away totally. No story is worth hurting anyone.