Ⓒ2019 Cindie Chavez
Yesterday I listened as a client told me a story, and I’m using the specific word “story” not only to quote my client accurately, but also to denote that the “story” was a fiction. After the initial statement, my client said, “I think this is just a story that I’ve been telling for a really long time.”
As humans we are master storytellers. We tell lots of them. Some of them seem like innocent details about us and “the way it is”, and in reality, they are whoppers.
Whoppers because as subtle as they sound, our stories are powerful enough to create reality, or at least what we perceive to be reality.
Here’s the story my client told me (which quite possibly could be one of yours, too) – “I’m not good at embracing change.” And yes, my client is currently in the midst of several big life changes.
To be fair, there’s some truth to the story, because as human beings most of us are not big “change embracers.” Virginia Satir, the famed family therapist, once remarked that, “Most people think the will to survive is the strongest instinct in human beings, but it isn’t. The strongest instinct is to keep things familiar.”
Safety is a basic human need, and we feel safe (or at least safer) when things are familiar.
Change can feel scary. True story.
In honor of privacy I won’t recount my client’s life story or any of the big changes they’ve experienced, but I don’t need to – if I look back at my own life, I can quickly count more than a dozen big changes I’ve experienced. When I was four years old I suddenly had a sibling, my parents divorced when I was six, I changed homes and schools multiple times, after I finished school I got married, I became pregnant, I became a parent (twice!), I moved across the country, I homeschooled two children for five years, I got divorced, I went back to school, I remodeled a house, I started a business, I found my soulmate, I married him, I became a step-mom. All of these count as “big changes”. And although some of these changes I felt ill-prepared for, I managed to navigate most of them quite well.
In hindsight, even the “unwanted” changes that I might have dreaded turned out to be experiences that enriched me and strengthened me, and most of them led me in a direction for the better.
I imagine that you, too, can look back and count multiple big changes you’ve experienced in your own life.
As I asked my client to look back over their life and tell me about some of the big changes, they had experienced a shift began to take place. I could hear the wonder of epiphany in their voice as they said to me, “Wow. I think I’m an expert at navigating big changes. I’ve never really seen this about myself before.”
I could hear a smile and sense of relief. And just like that, a new story was born. A story that feels so much truer, and more empowering, to my client. And I have no doubt that as a result of this new story, my client will exude a confidence that others will see and appreciate, a confidence that will allow my client to support others who are navigating uncertain waters.
We fear change because we are unsure about the future, and we can never be completely sure about the future in spite of our constant desire to have certainty.
My own personal intention about this is to work towards being certain about what I want, while accepting uncertainty about how it might unfold.
Life is often unpredictable and recognizing how well we’ve done so far can help us be confident that somehow, we’ll deal with what comes our way, and we’ll probably do much better than we expect. Telling a better story now is an important part of that process.
What stories are you telling about yourself? Do those stories support who you are becoming? It might be worth stepping back and taking another look.
A new story is waiting to be told, one that will support you, empower you, and help you create a truer experience – even when things are uncertain.
More by Cindie:
Cindie Chavez is known as “The Love & Magic Coach”. She is the creator of MOONTREAT™ – and she has some great free stuff for you at her website: www.cindiechavez.com
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