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Writing the Story of Your Life – Defining the Main Character

May 3, 2010

I wrote a post recently about the human story and how our individual stories weave together into the collective story of humanity. In that post I said that:

To realize the vision of a new world and new self, we’ve got to start writing a new story for our lives. We’ve got to break it down to the basics, strip away the dogma, the conditioning, and the crap.

In realizing this new vision, in writing a new story, it is critical to understand the importance of the characters in the story, especially the main character…You.

Any good author knows that the key to a great a story is the character development. Think about the great books you have read and I am sure you will come back to certain characters that impacted you, that had a story you could relate to – existing with depth, purpose, and meaning. I remember a creative writing class I took in school where the teacher banged on incessantly about “character development”. “The key,” she said, “is knowing who the character is, their motivations, hopes, and fears, and bringing those out to inject life into the character on the page. Nobody is going to remember a character that is flat, cardboard, lifeless, and dry. But a good character that really knows itself and is developed? That is the character that will be remembered.”

As I have sat thinking recently about the story of my own life, who I am, what I want to be, what I want to write for my new story, this teaching flooded back into my consciousness. And it got me thinking about my own character development. And I realized, in a moment of semi-despair and semi-excitement, that I don’t really know who I am as the character in my own story. And I realized that, for the gross majority of my life, I have played characters that other people have written for me, and only on rare occasions have actually ever been my own authentic character, my own true self.

And so, I ask you a very important and defining question:

How often, as the main character in your own story, are you actually your “true self” and how often are you a playing a character that you are “supposed” to be, based on the expectations of your parents, your spouse, your children, your society, your church, your job, your religion, your political party, your neighbors, etc., etc.?

There is the great philosophical axiom “Know Thyself” that has been passed down through the ages. How many of us can actually say that we have had the courage to discover and know our own self? And I mean that in the deepest, bravest, and most vulnerable way. I would venture to guess that few, if any of, us truly do.

So, what does this mean when it comes to writing a new story of life, that story that will become a chapter in the Book of Life that is the story of humanity? It means that, first, you must recognize that you are the central character in your own story, and two, that you have not only the ability, but also the responsibility, to embrace the truth of that character and live it.

What this means is that you have the power to define who you are in the development of your character. YOU have that power! And nobody else. Yes, we all have lived in the cloud of other’s expectations of us. We have all done things we have not wanted to do because of the pressure of others. We have all believed things about ourselves and the world because it was what we were conditioned to believe through the teachings of others. We have all lived a life based on someone else’s purpose and someone else’s needing us to be something, fulfill something, and/or do something that they want, damn our own desires. It has been called being responsible, being good, accepting the way life is, accepting our lots, blah, blah, bullshit. That’s right, its bullshit

Living your life because of the expectations and conditions of others is not living your own life. It is giving your life over to them to lead. That is not the freedom to live, it is the slavery of doing what they want, for fear of the repercussions that you both have agreed to. And that is bullshit.

Nobody can tell you who you are, what you are, or what you can be. But you can deceive yourself into believing that they can. And you can also willingly give up your freedom to be controlled by another as they pen your life for you. And if that is the case, great, embrace that for there is a feeling of safety as a sheep in a flock, living amongst other sheep.

But this is not written for sheep. Sheep are content in the way their lives are. They often accept their lot out of fear – fear of wolves, fear of the unknown, fear of being different.

This is written for those who know freedom is real, who are tired of being told who they are and what they should be. This is for those who are done with slavery, and control, and everyone else having an opinion about how they should write their story.

So, in beginning to actively write your new story, remember that you are the main character, and everyone else in your life is a supporting and secondary figure. Ultimately, they have no control over you, unless you allow them that.

Take the time to sit back and get to know who you are, what motivates you, what is true for you, and who you want to be as you begin to consciously write the story of your life.

And know that you can truly be whoever you want to be, you are the author of your story, and therein lies the power of your writing. You, the author, know that every new page can hold something knew, every new day holds a new possibility, no outcome is set in stone, and what has already been written means nothing in comparison to what you can create on the fresh and pure pages of the rest of your life.

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