How would you begin the story of you? Where or when does it begin? Imagine that you are about to tell your story. You know, “Once upon a time there was this person, and her story begins…”? What comes next?
All stories have beginnings, and all people have stories. All families and nations have them too. In fact, not only do we all have them, they may be the essence of who we are. So how would you choose to begin yours? Once you have an answer (and feel free to have a different answer tomorrow), consider why you began that way.? It’s like looking in one of the most interesting mirrors in the world.
It’s amazing how many things, both past and present, fall into place when we try understanding them through our own stories, and especially through whatever information we put in our first chapters.
Don’t be surprised by the power of what you learn, and the beauty of who you meet.
Of course, this is a story, so you aren’t bound by any one set of facts, or really any facts at all. It’s about how you choose to tell the story of you, or of your family, or of your community, etc. Others may not tell your story in the same way, but that’s fine – that’s their story, even if it involves you, and it need not be yours.
Of course, if you want to better understand someone else, including your relationship with them, then their story of you is pretty important, also! Just as your choices are a wonderful way to help you understand yourself, their choices of how to narrate that story will help you understand them (and how they see you). And presumably you want not only to be understood, but also to be understanding, right?
However you begin the story of you, ask yourself how you honor or celebrate that genesis narrative. Are there heroes in the story that you want to remember? Is there a special place without which the story could not have unfolded? If it’s a good place, how do you stay connected to it? If it’s a darker place, how do you memorialize your having passed through it?
Noticing and honoring the details will reintroduce you to yourself, and often, help you better understand your life and where you want to take it. This exercise highlights the values that are central to you, and guides you toward living those values as fully and meaningfully as possible.
Think it over: How do you tell the story of you?? Try telling it, and don’t be surprised by the power of what you learn, and the beauty of who you meet.
Brad Hirschfield is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Brad has been featured on ABC’s Nightline UpClose, PBS’s Frontline, Fox News and National Public Radio. He wrote a long-standing column, “For God’s Sake,” for the Washington Post, and has also written for The Huffington Post and Beliefnet.com. He authored the book, You Don?t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism. Brad also serves as President of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.