Whose story are you living?

From young, we humans are raised according to the values and beliefs of our parents. In our formative years, therefore, our parents create the context in which we live our lives. That means, quite understandably, we live as part of their story. Then comes a time we have to leave our parents to create our own lives and stories.

Those of us who have, or had, good parents have much to be grateful for. Good parents sacrifice a lot for their children. They shape their own lives according to their children’s needs and deny themselves many things in order to give their children opportunities they possibly didn’t have. We could never repay our parents for what they did for us while we were growing up.

There comes a time, however, when we have to start standing on our own two feet and making our own way in the world, without our parent’s help. Some parents, unfortunately, aren’t ready and seek to extend the time their children are with them by unconsciously enabling dependent behaviour when such behaviour should end.

They offer to help their children financially as they don’t want to see them struggle. This is kind and noble but it sometimes comes at a cost. Parents want their children to continue living their story instead of allowing them to live their own.

Living your story means you make your own decisions regarding your life and don’t live according to someone else’s requirements. I am not advocating that people in long-term relationships should behave selfishly with no regard for their partners in the interests of living their own story. Couples in long-term relationships are actually living their own shared story – a story of a life together and that story is an important and valid story. But that’s a story that they will have mutually agreed on.

When I say you shouldn’t be living someone else’s story, I’m referring to the story someone else thinks you should be living to meet some need in their lives and which you don’t necessarily want to live.

Whose story are you living right now? Are you still living your parents’ story or are you living your sibling’s story? Maybe you’re living your children’s story or a selfish partner’s story – a partner who wants you to do things to suit them and doesn’t take your needs and wishes into account.

If you realise that, for the past few years, you have been living someone else’s story (and you’ll know if you are), I urge you to start living your own story whether it be individually or with your life partner.

I mentioned that you’ll know if you are currently living someone else’s story. The way you’ll know this is by the discomfort that you feel inside when you think about it. If you’re living your own story, you will be quite happy and will have no second thoughts about things. You will not have a vague feeling in the pit of your stomach about living the way you are to meet someone else’s selfish needs.

You already know you’ve got one life to live, and that’s why it’s so important that you. Live. Your. Own. Story.

People who end up living someone else’s story die sad, bitter and regretful people. The tragedy of regret is that it is the one emotion we feel because we cannot do something about what we regret. That’s why we experience regret.

Whatever your age now, make a decision to start living your own story. How many years are you going to waste living someone else’s story?

People who live their own stories find success and fulfilment and, most importantly, make a significant contribution to the world, to society or to their family. That’s because each of us was born to live our own story!

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery.

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