Locked in the Narrative?

Posted on May 31, 2019 by Evgeny Poberezkin
Tags: essay

When we are children, we choose the stories of our future lives. “I will be a cosmonaut.” Or “I will be a doctor”. Our stories are supported by parents — toys fuel our fantasies until they burn out and we move on.

For most of us these stories change many times as we grow up. Few stay fixated on the story to live it, fewer turn out to be happy when they do.

As we become older we continue choosing such stories. “I want to be a manager.” Or “I want to create tools for other engineers.” Or “The people have voted, we must respect it.”

Led by these stories, we often get from being unhappy to being miserable. And the cycle repeats again — we choose a new story to believe in.

We complain about lacking freedom, but the strongest prison is the one we put ourselves in without knowing it exists. We are pressured to make choices all our life. “Will you have tea or coffee?” “What college did you apply to?” “What is your next career step?” “How have you invested your money?”

Making these decisions is important, but when they are not rooted in the reality of who we are and instead based on the stories we chose to believe, we can’t be happy. The best decision you can make, is to not make the decision until it is your own and not led by your current story. But resisting the urge to make the decision is hard — it takes growing up.

To be free we need to remember that most of our ideas about the world and about ourselves are just stories re-told by other people. Very rarely we hear an original story, and when we do, we often just ignore it.

We can discover our own truths about who we are, what we want and to write the story of our life ourselves. Until then, we can follow the opportunities and keep our options open — the story of our life may just write itself.