In last week’s post, I mentioned the life of Jean Valjean from the play Les Miserables. I wrote how he believed who he was based on what people told him, and it wasn’t until someone believed in him that he believed in himself that he had the courage to create his own life. This belief and understanding of yourself is called your story. What is your story?
In order understand who you are today and envision where you are going in the future, you need to understand where you came from. The road to self discovery does not start in the middle, it starts at the beginning. In order to know your story, you need to know how your story began. You need to reflect on what you have been given and what you have chosen. You have to understand what got you to where you are today. When I say given, I mean what have you been provided that you had no control over (e.g. being born the second child (daughter) of a middle class Irish/German family in Philadelphia, PA in the 1970’s, being born with blonde hair, freckles, etc.). List anything and everything you can think of, no detail is too big or too small. This may sound like a list of things that are not very important but these things that you have been given outside of your control affect the choices that you make whether you realize it or not. This is where the story of you starts.
Then think about what choices you have made in your life (e.g. attending college, getting married, not having children, traveling, volunteering, having a large group of friends, etc.). Again list anything and everything that comes to mind; big decisions and small decisions that you have made. Why did you make those choices? What pushed you to make choices that were in line with what you were given? What pushed you to make choices that were different than what you were given? It is through those choices and their alignment with what you were given that creates your story; the reason behind who you are and what you want to do in this world. It is also here that you start to develop your core values.
Your values don’t just appear, only experience can provide you with your values. Think about your values and what you value. Why do you hold these as your values? Was it based on an experience or a person that you met along your journey? Have your values been the same or do they change as time passes?
Once you realize how your got where you are today, you can then decide whether you like what you see. If you do, great. Keep doing what you are doing. But if you are not happy with where you are and what you see, I encourage you to look at the past and see what choices have taken you away from your chosen path. What decisions did you make that were against your core values?
Many people look to change their lives mid journey and are unsuccessful in doing so because they haven’t taken the time to understand how and why they are where they are, therefore they continue to make the same mistakes and choices.
This week I encourage you to learn your story and understand that you cannot control what you were given, but you can control the choices that you make. What is your story?