Why the Meaning Behind Your Story Matters

meaning behind story header

“Am I looking at what’s Right or am I looking at what’s Wrong?”
Debbie Ford

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What were the significant experiences in your life and what have you made them mean about you? As human beings we assign meaning to everything we perceive and experience. Every life has a set of stories and every great story has a struggle in it.

But if your story has you feeling broken, unloved, or bad about yourself, it isn’t serving you. If your story is keeping you stuck, then you won’t be able to become who you came into this lifetime to be.

There are lessons and insights and wisdom and love stories to be learned from everything that happens to us and every person we encounter. The only moments that are random are the ones we don’t take the time to “see.”

Take my own personal story, for example.

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Here’s one possible version:

“I was born without a father because he left us when my mother became pregnant with me in 1967. She was only 20 and we were middle-class poor, so we all crammed into my grandparents’ house where even more family members lived. My mother married my stepfather when I was 5 and we moved around a lot but with little money, usually ended up back at my grandparents’ house. My family was overprotective so I didn’t get to do much growing up because of their fears. Friends turned against me in 8th grade so I felt unpopular and lonely, and quickly learned to play small and keep quiet. I didn’t go to college because my parents didn’t themselves and they couldn’t afford it anyway, so I had to begin working right out of high school. I married young at 23, had my son at 28, and found myself divorced, anorexic, and raising a child on my own by the time I was 35.” 

And now here’s another:

“The Universe delivered me in perfect harmony this time around to an unwed 20-year-old girl in 1968. She had no worldly possessions to offer, so instead gave to me her heart so big and with it, grew my spirit so pretty. She helped to color the fairy tales that I still believe in today.

I was four years old in 1972 when my mother introduced me to a man who courted the both of us, and by his tender age of 25, proudly called me his daughter. Willingly he swept me into his arms and heart and life, and taught my young impressionable spirit, through his shining example, that being related by earth blood has nothing at all to do with holding a sacred traveling family together.

In 8th grade, with a lot of time on my hands, I discovered an affinity for writing and expression, from which grew my self-awareness, compassion for kindness, and a deep interest in how people treated one another. This would create the foundation of how I showed up in the world later in life, and ultimately ignite a calling to help others through my writing and as a life coach.

I was raised by a loving Italian family who adored me, and their worry for keeping me safe limited my experiences as a child, but gave to the remainder of my life gifts of deep wonder and curiosity for the world around me. What others grew up taking for granted, I was still discovering with child-like marvel as an adult. 

I was blessed to not only know my grandparents for four decades, but to have lived with them intimately for most of my life. My grandmother became my best friend and when she passed away when I was 45, she left with me the rare gift of knowing what it feels like to be truly and unconditionally seen and loved. 

I’ve worked for the same Fortune 500 company for 27 years – one that won me right out of school, and has enabled me to raise my beloved son on my own, buy healthy food and warm shelter and safety, and help others. One that brought me priceless role models and mentors who still continue to shape my life. 

When I left my marriage at 35, I grew my humility and independence and an understanding of my responsibility and role in the co-creation of my own reality.

When I became anorexic, on my knees, at my last cry out to God, I found a yearlong nutrition school that would not only make me healthy again, but reinvent the way I would raise my son, and how I thought of my body, mind, and soul.

When my son asked to attend a college so far out of my financial league, I found enough Band-Aids and patchwork pieces to weave together a plan, and even took it as an opportunity to work towards my own college degree since my work offered to pay for my full tuition.

When I looked back on my life and recognized the powerful tools I had used to shift my perception throughout my long journey, I then trained for a year to become a life coach for others, using these same tools, so I could pay forward these gifts.

And when others threw their fears and prejudices at me, excitedly I talked of possibility and vision and FAITH and did things anyway … because I had learned over time that when I consciously shifted my perception, the meanings of all my “stories” changed, and my struggles always and effortlessly transformed into my life’s love stories.” 

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Did you feel the difference? Did your energy shift and become lighter when reading the second version? Which story would you rather live inside of? Which person would you rather associate with? Which story feels empowering?

As you can see, the actual events of my life didn’t mysteriously change.

What changed is the interpretation by which we viewed them. 

When we look at our lives through a lens of faith and “what’s right,” we are then able to find the gifts of our pasts. We can then move powerfully forward towards the lives we envision for ourselves. Our creativity opens us up to new possibilities and we stop depending on forces outside ourselves to make our life begin to “happen.”

As your life coach, I will teach you the very same tools I used to shift my own perceptions, so that you will be able to shift your own as well. I will guide you in understanding the powerful yet crippling meaning-making we put behind the circumstances of our lives, and I will show you how to make peace with your past. And along the way, you will come to find and gather all the gifts of your own beautiful existence. 

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