None of us were born yesterday. If you believe the past shapes the future, then the life we live right now was decided a long time ago.
We make up stories in our imaginations about each other to explain what causes people to act and say what they do. We make up stories about our own lives and behavior, too, stories that motivate us to do what we do.
Memories of the past, whether five minutes ago or fifty years, come to us in the form of stories. The stories we tell ourselves define the emotional stakes of our lives. In storytelling, a character’s backstory refers to events and emotions that take place earlier than when the action of the story is taking place.
Understanding your own backstory allows you a glimpse into why you act the way you do, what prevents you from reaching your goals and better appreciate the road you took to get here.
If you've ever looked at your life and wondered how you got to this point and how ever will you get back to where you truly want to be, if, that is, you knew where exactly that might be, by shedding the stories you tell yourself decides what happens next in your life.
Every backward-glance in our lives is an invitation to add to or subtract from the general narrative we tell ourselves, often obsessively, until our mind believes the story as the truth and becomes the story we live by. Some stories we make up about events in our lives have beginnings, middles and ends. Other stories we listen to are fragments. Sometimes we become so close to the stories of the past that any little reminder: a crude gesture, a withering glance, the whiff of perfume, and we again relive a past that is always present.
We can go back in time and fix and change what haunts us today. Turn to the Universal Story and create a new story. Discover the stories you tell yourself and rediscover emotions and pieces of yourself you’ve forgotten or thought were lost forever. Lift yourself out of the past. Seize the life you've always dreamed.
For more about the Universal Story: Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master.
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