Whose Story Are You Telling?

I’ve been massively inspired this week by an extraordinarily moving talk I heard on The Moth podcast.

Elizabeth Gilbert – she of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ fame – tells the story of the last months of her partner Rayya’s life. The piece that particularly resonated with me was when Liz talks about her plans for Rayya’s last days … without giving too much away (please, please listen to the talk – it’s wonderful), Rayya and Liz have very different ideas about how things should happen, and – of course – in the end Rayya gets her wishes fulfilled.

As I was listening to it, I realised that there was a current relationship in my life where I was trying to do the same thing: I had a story in my head about how things should happen, and was forgetting that the other person perhaps didn’t see it quite the same way.

It reminds me of Stephen Covey’s concept of ‘paradigms’, that he talks about in his ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. We all see the world through the lens of our own experiences, and it’s not always easy to shift our viewpoint to see a situation from someone else’s perspective. But when we do, the effect is often profound.

I’m aware that this is not a new idea – it’s one you’ve likely come across many times before, but sometimes – as I did this week – we need to be reminded of the basics.

What stories are you telling?

And more importantly, whose stories are you listening to?


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