Humans are a great story telling species. In fact it’s our stories that move us forward in life or stop us in our tracks. We tell stories not only to others but also to ourselves. The fact that we are so attracted by the idea of stories is reaffirmed by the popularity of ‘fiction’ over ‘non-fiction’, movies, dramas, news media both print and digital et al. In fact the ‘viral’ spread of stories at the speed of thought confirms our never ending thirst for stories old and new.
I want to direct your attention to the stories which you tell yourself. They can be highly motivating at the time of crisis or can be on the contrary demotivating as well.
If you are a person who builds coherent stories around crisis by claiming to yourselves that ‘there is a purpose behind whatever is happening to you’ and there is an overreaching positive goal or outcome which you will achieve – you will be motivated. For example: during this global pandemic, if you are a person who constantly looks to build, write or read stories about how this crisis is teaching you important life lessons and there is definitely a divine purpose behind it, then you will feel more comfortable and remain positive at all times.
If you are a person who attaches a purpose with stories to convince yourself that you are being punished for your misdeeds and there is an invisible force that has been keeping an account of all what you did in the past, then you would find yourself getting into a negative spiral. Like the “why me?” or “Why does it happen to me always?” questions.
The more you tell yourselves these stories, the more you will find data to prove yourself right. It is like a confirmation bias which sets in and can take you down a path which could be empowering or disempowering.
As I say, the belief that ‘everything happens for a purpose’ is a double-edged sword; it can be reassuring and comforting but can also lead to disillusionment, anguish, and feelings of abandonment by God, under conditions of cruel adversity.
What’s your story? What’s your belief?
Do you believe that ‘Everything happens for a purpose’?