By VICTORIA SARNE
Writing your story doesn’t have to be taken literally, although if you feel you have a story to tell by all means write it.
What I am conveying is: we are all in charge of our own destinies no matter how small or how big our dreams and no matter where we are in life – advantaged, dis-advantaged, young, old, male or female. Life abounds with prejudices and challenges and always has but it also offers opportunities for joy and fulfillment. It is up to us to create the plot. Figuratively speaking, do we see ourselves as poor Cinderella, burdened with chores, or the girl who goes to the ball? As fairy godmothers are in short supply, we have to create our own magic, write or change our own stories.
One of the necessary components to our welfare as human beings is that we have a fundamental need to feel significant in some way, as if we matter, as if someone will notice when we show up or even if we don’t; as if we might be missed.
This doesn’t mean we have to be the centre of attention or have an “important” job or become famous, although society tells us so on a daily basis in so many obvious or subliminal ways. Most of that information is really disinformation and unhelpful to growth and maturity. Very often it tells us if we don’t conform to a certain standard, whether of beauty, intelligence or success, we are failing, but in whose eyes? Our own set of values are the ones that matter not some arbitrary “rules” usually concocted by others with a vested interest in profit for them, whether selling us fashion or the latest magic diet.
We are all important, whether to family, friends, our community or society at large. We have a role to play and we need to keep that firmly in our heads. Society is comprised of many individuals each with differing personalities, ideas and lifestyles or choices but that is exactly what makes our societies function coherently.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if you are a waitress or a cashier at the supermarket or stay at home raising a family or if you are the chief executive officer of a large company. Everything and everyone is interconnected. We all matter equally. and each one of us is performing a valuable function in keeping our world turning. Without the CEOs or executives to run companies we wouldn’t have jobs; without staff in a supermarket we wouldn’t be able to stock shelves with groceries or sell them; without customers businesses couldn’t survive. It’s circular.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all of us writing the way we live every day. The way we think and in the way we self-talk is reflected in our attitude. Self-respect and integrity are key elements in healthy human behaviour although understandably sometimes more of a challenge to achieve for those who have not been nurtured in a caring or supportive environment. We need to believe that we are only prevented from achieving what we want by our own lack of imagination or will; there are copious true stories of individuals who have had poor starts in life and risen above them sometimes with spectacular results. If we believe it’s possible and are prepared to do the work we can start writing the script we want to read. It’s not difficult to open our eyes and observe who around us seems to be happy, enjoying their life or work and what qualities and habits they possess. What behaviour seems to make them interesting, or likeable? We can learn from such people.
Our individual stories matter collectively because they impact society at large and they matter to us as individuals because we deserve to be where we want to be doing what gives us satisfaction. We make our own choices and even if we decide we don’t have any, that’s also a choice we are writing into our script.
Reach out for whatever matters to you; whatever dreams you secretly hold in your heart no matter how impossible they may seem and despite what any naysayers might try to tell you to dissuade you. So what if it is difficult or seems improbable at best; you won’t know unless you try; if you tell yourself there has to be a way, it’s very likely you will find it. Now, where are those glass slippers?
• Victoria Sarne is an entrepreneur and writer. She headed a team to establish a shelter for abused women and children in Canada and was its first chairwoman. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit lifelineswritingservice.com, or call 467-1178.