The inner stories that you tell about our life. Experiences that come together to define who you are and what you want, which provide a sense of unity and purpose in life.
adapted from: Dan McAdams
Your identity is also made up of those stories – the ones you often replay in your head but don’t often share with others. those difficult times. the sad times. They have shaped you and still linger.
Do these internal stories keep us back from happiness and going after what we truly want?
It may sound a bit woo-woo, but there is something really interesting about it – when you think about human behaviour and how our brains work.
I want to share this story with you from Debbie Ford. It’s a good one that makes a person think. Take a quick read and see if it connects to you in any way…
In 1957, a monastery in Thailand was being relocated and a group of monks were given the task of moving a giant clay Buddha. In the midst of the move one of the monks noticed a crack in the Buddha.
Concerned about damaging the idol, the monks decided to wait for a day before continuing with their task. When night came, one of the monks checked on the giant statue. He shined his flashlight over the entire Buddha. When he reached the crack he saw something reflect back at him. The monk, his curiousity aroused, got a hammer and a chisel and began chipping away at the clay Buddha. As he knocked off piece after piece of clay, the Buddha got brighter and brighter.
After hours of work, the monk looked up in amazement to see standing before him a huge solid-gold Buddha.Many historians believe that the Buddha had been covered with clay by Thai monks several hundred years earlier before an attack by the Burmese army. They covered the Buddha to keep it from being stolen. In the attack all the monks were killed, so it wasn’t until 1957, when the monks were moving the giant statue, that the great treasure was discovered.
Like the Buddha, our outer shell protects us from the world: our real treasure is hidden within. We as human beings unconsciously hide our inner gold under a layer of clay. All we need to do to uncover our gold is have the courage to chip away at our outer shell, piece by piece.
…people hate their shells. They haven’t discovered that their clay shell protects them in more ways than they can imagine. We need our shells for many reasons, and for each of us the reasons may be different. Even though our ultimate goal is to shed our shells we first need to understand and make peace with these masks.
Debbie Ford, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers
Narrative Identity and the stories that we tell about our lives is fascinating.
I’ve started to write my life stories and I’m already learning so much about myself and those around me. Some of the pieces I’ve written have been incredibly healing and I now find that when I play through those inner stories about my life, they are no longer there. That’s a pretty big change for me. I am slowly rewriting my story and it feels good.
If you’re interested in learning more about yourself through story but you’re not sure where to start, I’m sharing pieces as I go…
snippets of research and interesting things I come across.
books I’m reading, things I’m making, and cute kid pics.
The Lainie List
every Friday I email, The Lainie List. It’s a curated list of things that I’ve come across during the week that I love and want to share with others. It’s also content that I don’t share anywhere else.