During our lives, most of us collect a variety of experiences, good and bad, that we can use as reasons for how we think and react today. This collection will include how we were brought up and what our childhood was like, whether we passed or failed exams, the success or failure of our close relationships, the status we achieved at work, and the events that were major influences on our lives and attitudes.
Yet all this is not who we are, in essence. We know this, because if it were, everyone who had a similar experience would have a similar set of attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, and that is patently not the case.
We all have stories about how our experiences have affected us, and there is no doubt that they play a part in shaping how we are now. But they don’t define us. We are defined by how we choose to use those experiences.
I can use a bad experience as an excuse for being a victim of circumstance, or I can use it as a prompt to learn how to handle things differently. I can use a good experience as a reason to rest on my laurels, or I can use it to help me to create more good experiences in my life by identifying what made it work.
Every day I have the opportunity to create my own story of how my life works. I can choose to use my history as something I can learn from and improve on. I can even choose to ignore chunks of it and just have another go, start a fresh chapter.
Years ago I read a book abut being lucky. The author had done research on people who believed they were lucky, and guess what – he discovered that people who believed they were lucky seemed to have more luck in their lives. It’s about how you interpret the experiences you have, and which ones you pay attention to, not about the objective experience.
So let’s make our own definition of who we are now, and let’s make it a good one.
Do a list of: ‘I am someone who…’ statements, and make them all positive, useful and present tense.
Whatever your history is, you can be someone who enjoys life, has good friends, has a warm comfy home, has enough material stuff, loves laughing – the list can go on and on!
We create our own story – let’s make it a good one!