Each of you has your own story. It’s what makes you, you. It is what makes you the loveable and lovely individual that you are. But that’s not all. Your story doesn’t only shape you into the person you are today.
Your story shapes your life every single day
Your story is so much more powerful. It is so powerful, it actually shapes your entire life, and does so every day.
Your story is a very active, breathing part of your life that shades everything you see, the way you feel, the way you perceive others’ actions, the way you act, the dreams you have.
In terms of love and your relationships, your stories determine what you think love is and what it can be.
What you want love to be. What you hope for love to be. What the perfect love story is for you. Who your perfect partner is.
So, your stories influence every aspect of your life, which probably doesn’t surprise you.
The problem is this:
Most people are not aware of their stories.
When you are not aware of your stories, you do not understand what moves you deeply, where your hopes and dreams and aspirations come from, or why you are attracted to the same kind of partner again and again (even if things never work out for you), and why you react so hopelessly sensitively to something your well-meaning partner does.
To understand your life and your relationships, you need to understand your stories
If you want to truly understand your life and your relationships, then you need to understand your stories, because your stories are the key to your motivation and to all that drives you.
Your story influences your thinking and actions
Your story makes you think and act in particular ways.
For example, if you have a travel story, you will look for someone with whom to travel through life; you will try to stay on the same life journey as the other person. And you probably will stay with that person unless your paths while traveling through life diverge too much.
Your story influences what you perceive as the perfect relationship
Your story also influences what you think a loving relationship should be like. If you dream of your perfect prince, a partner who constantly expects you to make sacrifices for them may not be a great fit.
If you dream of growing together with your partner and having a lot of different experiences together, someone who likes to stay in the house and prefers to be alone may not make you happy.
We usually are not even be aware of the particular story or stories we have about love.
Instead, we often will view our story or stories as more or less "correct" characterizations of what love is or should be.
For us, our stories are love. We then view partners who fail to measure up to our story as being somehow inadequate.
At the same time, we may view ourselves as inadequate if we cannot conform to the story-based view we have of relationships.
Thus, if someone views love as a fairy tale but can't form a fairy-tale relationship after several tries, they may view themselves as failing in love.
Your story determines whom you see as a good partner
Love stories, like any story, have roles for the people starring in them. People look for a partner who shares their story or who at least has a compatible story that more or less can fit with theirs.
But they may not always look for someone just like themselves. Rather, they may look for someone who is like them in sharing a story or similar story, but who is complementary to them in the role within that story.
Thus, people sometimes look for others who are, at one level, similar, but at another level, different. So, for example, someone with a business story looks for someone who is in a similar role—business person.
But someone with a horror story looks for someone complementary—either perpetrator or victim. The perpetrator seeks a victim and the victim seeks a perpetrator.
Remember, when looking, people often do not realize consciously what they are looking for. Thus, a victim may not view him or herself as looking for a victim role and may be puzzled as to why he or she keeps ending up as a victim.
Some stories are more common and others are less common
How common stories are depends in part upon your culture. For example, a fairy-tale story may be viewed as acceptable or even as desirable in one cultural milieu and as fanciful and totally impractical in another cultural milieu.
Regardless of culture, certain stories seem simply to have more potential for success than do others.
Some stories, for example, may run themselves out quickly and thus lack durability over the long term, whereas others may have the potential to last a lifetime.
For example, the art story is often self-limiting in the long run. In the art story, one looks for a partner who, on the outside, is a work of art. People who are very good looking when they are young may not continue to be quite as good looking, or good looking in the same way, as they grow older.
We can have more than one story at once
Most people do not have just one story, but rather, several stories. They will likely prefer one story over others but may be attracted to different people depending on the story into which these potential partners fit.
That is, the stories are arranged in a kind of hierarchy, with the preferred stories near the top and the less preferred stories lower down.
You also may be reasonably happy living out one of your love stories with one particular partner, but then someone else comes along. That someone else fits well into another story of yours.
However, unfortunately for you and your current partner, you prefer the story of the “someone else” over the story you are currently living out with your partner.
Suddenly, your current partner seems a lot less attractive than they did before because you now have someone to fill a role in a story that you like better.
The story you tell yourself gives you permission to live your life in the flats – or to fly high
Your stories – the stories you likely do not even know you have – impact your life significantly and on a daily basis.
Stories give you permission to stay put where you are; to remain in an abusive relationship because that is what relationships are to you; to fall for the same kind of partner over and over again, although you already know they won’t make you happy; to settle for less because you feel you don’t deserve more.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Knowing your story will put you in the powerful position to change your life for the better
If you understand your story -- where your dreams and desires, your feelings and actions come from – then you are in a powerful position to change your life for the better--to reach for your dreams and make them a reality.
Over the next weeks, we will take you on an adventure.
We invite you to explore the most common love stories people have all over the world. We encourage you to explore them and to explore yourself.
We will discover what to do when your stories are ones that don’t make you happy, and we will explore strategies to change them.
It is only when you know yourself that you can set goals that will make you happy and will fulfill you in the long term – goals that are achievable for every single one of you.