Storytelling mini checkpoint. - Facing the demons, removing the blockages
As you move through these exercises, you may get blocked from time to time. It could be a lack of imagination or practice, in which case you should enlist the help of some friends. But sometimes we just get blocked by issues that still needto be dealt with. For instance, a friend and I were working through some of the exercises above but whenever she tried to speak into her future, voices of the past kept popping up.62 In this case, expectations spoken by her father were blocking the freedom she needed to project into the future. All of us have heard similar expectations, but for some of us these words become anchors binding us to the ideas other people have about our future. When this happens, we need to stop and process the issue to keep it from subverting our story. One way to do this is to write down the words spoken over us, or the expectations formed by those around us. There’s often helpful advice or good intentions behind these voices but they’re marred by the story they try to create, scenes from our future that don’t line up with who we’re trying to be. We’ll start by listing the good values behind these voices so we don’t demonize the relationships. One value might be that our parents want us to be able to care for ourselves... Fine. We can then list the negative bits, like the useless job descriptions or false identity statements our parents thought would create ‘financial security’. Eventually, these will need to be countermanded with a better story. A story that you can gracefully explain to those projecting the false future. Often, it’s not that key people in our lives think their idea of your future is the best idea, it’s that they’ve never really heard your view of the future. You may not be able to tell them directly, but by articulating these stories, you’ll have an internal narrative to move the anchor out of your way. Here’s a way to workshop issues that block you:
1. Articulate the issue as described above. (These will mostly be expectations placed over your life, but it could be anything. Just write down what you feel is stopping you.)
2. Trace its roots. For instance, my dad constantly told me to “get a job” because his dad was always looking for ways to get rich quickly. Therefore my father’s hard working nature became a generational pressure to not repeat the problem. Somewhere along the way, our family lost the plot on identity. Where did expectations in your life come from and what motivated them? It’s important to move past the expectations and see their roots because that’s what we’re really dealing with.
3. Write out what your future would look like if you tried to fulfill other people’s expectations regardless of your identity. You need to see how this would affect you so you’re motivated to work in the right direction.
A Horror Story
What am I 'expected to do / be
Where these expectations come from
What my life would look like in the future if I lived according to these expectations...
4. Now look over your ‘I am’ statements again and find a way to celebrate the core themes you’ve discovered. This may require a party, a weekend with your friends, or anything you can do to mount a proper defense against misguided expectations. My friend and I went over her identity and the stories of her life that highlighted the truth about her, so she could see this inner strength shining through her best experiences. This allowed her to press through to telling her own story.
5. Then get back to the story telling, but with a renewed motivation and a commitment to not put lame expectations on your friends, family, children, or their children...