Write Your Own Story

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

Everyone goes through valleys of sadness and grief, and everyone experiences mountaintops where they are more joyful, purposeful, and optimal. Changes in circumstances are inevitable. But what distinguishes a person’s strength is not their character in one season, but their character in the overarching story of their lives.

We were not made to be people who jump from mood to mood on account of the circumstances of our lives. Yet when you look around, that is most of what you see. People define the story of their life and express the very narrative of their life in terms of the value of their circumstances. Today was good because my boss treated everyone nicely, because it was sunny out, or because I enjoyed a walk with a friend. Today was bad because of traffic or because of a coworker not performing at work. It’s the way people talk. To be fair, it is natural for all of us to talk about our lives in terms of what is happening, not in what we perceive. But what if it was intended to be the opposite?

People who control the perception of their lives — as opposed to letting their circumstances dictate their well-being — live more balanced, productive, and joyful lives. Sure, a good event can and should increase happiness, but a person who perceives their narrative through the lens of what they want to see instead of what is happening to them ultimately do not care about changing circumstances. At the end of the day, a strong person creates their own story, they do not let events take over the plot. People who perceive deeply create their own narrative, for they know that we cannot control our surroundings, just ourselves.

What if we viewed our lives through a lens of perceiving instead of simply seeing? We would see through the greater purpose and joy of our story instead of talking to others about the immediate and the urgent. These people might start conversations about how traffic reminded them that patience is a key value in their lives or how a bad interaction with someone encouraged them to be a better friend. When you perceive your life differently, you change your life completely.

Consider this piece of wisdom from Solomon in Ecclesiastes, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” (Ecc. 7:14)

Be happy when life gives you happiness, but know that each day is made for you to live, too. Do not let the circumstances of life cloud the already uncertain future that befalls you. Live your life in a way where you create the narrative, and you find the best, most purposeful interpretation through it all. Through the valleys and the mountaintops, you’ll find that you enjoy writing your own story.

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Paul Keefer

Writer, teacher, and lifetime kid. I post an article every Monday morning on self-improvement and inspiration. Check out my writing and book @ paul-keefer.com