The Story We Tell Ourselves!
The ego wants an identity. The ego mind wants to be special, wants to be unique, and wants a story to empower itself. There are a lot of stories that we tell ourselves about who we are. It is how we try to deal with the outside world and how we try to present ourselves. The two most common stories are the victim story and the hero story. The two stories, I have seen them inside of me and I have seen them with other people. Both are used by the ego to justify actions, justify your life, and justify your way of living.
The Victim Story
People with the victim story are sometimes hard to deal with. A lot of people have a victim story. They want to play the victim. They want to be the victim. They want to be the one suffering. You may ask, why would anyone want to be a victim? Why would anyone want to be the one suffering?
The person suffering cannot be attacked – the person suffering cannot be attacked. They are already suffering. If you attack someone that is suffering, it makes you look like a bully. It makes you look insensitive, non caring, and barbaric. The person suffering cannot be attacked because if you attack them then you become the evil doer.
The person suffering is right or good – in their minds, the person that is suffering is the one that is right. Like in the movies, the villain attacks the victim. The villain bullies the victim. So the victim is good while the villain is evil.
The person that is suffering gets to attack others – Again, we see this in the movies and stories. The person that is suffering is good, the other is the villain. This means that the person that is good gets to attack others. It is justified. This person made me suffer, I can attack this person and do whatever I want. This gives rise to righteous anger. I am allowed to belittle, hurt, punch and kick this person who insulted me.
The victim never has to take responsibility – I don’t have my homework because the dog ate it. I am late to the party because of traffic. I am suffering because this person is mean to me. I am a victim because the world is a bully. I am down on my luck because I am just not lucky enough. I am suffering not because of me but because of the world. The victim always has an excuse and never takes responsibility. By being the one suffering, they cannot be attacked and they can make excuses. In short, I am not responsible for my life, the world and other people are responsible and have control of my life.
The Exaggeration Starts Happening
If you have a victim mentality, who are you going to attack? Who are the villains? Who are the villains in the story that you tell yourself? The villains are going to be the people that is close to you. They are going to be people who care about you. No one you do not know will play the villain. The likely villain that you are going to pick will be people around you. You will blow up whatever misunderstanding, whatever conflict or interaction you have with these people that are close to you. You are not going to find villains that are not close to you. It is hard. The people you will pick will be the ones close to you. You are going to be the victim, they are going to be the villain. The victim is good, right, and allowed to attack the villain. So you are going to attack a friend, family member, relative and so on. You are going to talk to everyone you know and tell them how this person is very evil and made you into a victim. The exaggeration starts. The lying happens. Just to make sure that you are right, you are the victim, you are good and they are the villain or evil people. You are going to spread gossip, mock this person, make fun of this person to everyone you know.
People with victim mentality tend to be unpopular, not very attractive, failing in their love life, failing in their sex life, and so on. It is because they attack people who are close to them. They do not listen to anyone. They don’t have to because the world is the one responsible for their fate. They are powerless since they are the victim.
The Hero Story
The hero story is a little bit better. I make my own decisions, I am the master of my fate. I am the ruler of my world. The hero of my story. The people with the hero mentality tend to be popular, they tend to be attractive, and they are nice to talk to. They do not need others most of the time since they view themselves as self-sufficient. The hero story causes a lot of suffering also.
The hero story has to achieve something – The hero has to get things done. He needs to conquer the world, defeat the dragon, or destroy the villain as well. The hero can get so bossy, stuck up, and very angry if you don’t help his cause. They can sacrifice people, sacrifice pleasantries, sacrifice anything as long as they achieve their goals.
The hero is always right – the hero is always right because the end justifies the means. The achievement justifies the pain and sacrifices. The hero can sacrifice anyone or anything to achieve his goal. The hero can even sacrifice his family, friends, and relatives for his business, and so on.
One achievement to the next – the hero always has to have an achievement. He goes for the next achievement after achieving the first one. It goes on and on. He may even sacrifice the first achievement to be able to get the second achievement. This is why a lot of millionaires become rich then broke then rich then broke. They cannot stop. They need to go for the next achievement, kill the next dragon and so on. This is just a lot of pain. Putting your happiness on the next achievement and sacrificing what you have now. You can travel through a lot of pain, 3-4 years worth of pain to be happy for 2 weeks or 1 month of happiness for the achievement.
The Role That You Play As Your Story
We also identify ourselves with the roles that we play. It can be a job, it can be a role like mother, and it can be anything. This is easy to see in a lot of people also. I met a lot of very successful women that are in leadership roles. They are the boss of people. The way they talk to others is very bossy also. The way talk to their friends, people they just met and so on, would be the way they would talk to their employees.
There Are Many More Stories
There are many more stories that we tell ourselves. This is me. This is my story and so on. What can we learn from this?
The Stories That We Tell Ourselves Are Very Limiting
The stories we tell ourselves are very limiting. They become our identity and we attach ourselves to it. If we are the victim, we will always view ourselves as powerless, and have no control. If we are the hero, we will never stop moving and never appreciate what we have now. It will be hard to enjoy the present moment when you are expecting happiness on the next future moment. So on… This makes us more reactive. We react to anything that threatens our identity. The ego repairs itself by attacking.
If I tell someone, you are not a victim, that person will get mad at me. If someone is telling me, this so and so did this to me, and if I tell this person to deal with it, this person will get mad at me. They have an affinity to victimization. They like to suffer. They want someone to validate their victimization. They try to get allies. If you tell them, stop it and not validate it, you are going to be the enemy. The person will attack you also. Same thing for the hero. Same thing for the role. If I tell someone, you are not a good Doctor, or you are not a good artist, they would be so mad at me. They would just react. Their egos would go on self repair mode.
Some people, they commit suicide after they lose their jobs. They identify themselves with their jobs. Losing their jobs, they no longer know who they are. Tremendous amount of suffering happens because the ego identifies and attached itself to the job. When it is gone, the person no longer has an identity. The attachment to the identity made them commit suicide. I think in Japan, this happens a lot. There are lots of people that will stay in a job that they hate, pays less, and they are overworked because they identify themselves with the job. They do not want to look for anything else or want anything else because it is their identity.
Like I said in my consciousness article, we are more than the story we tell ourselves. We are more than our thoughts and our emotions. We are more than the story that we tell ourselves. We can be anything. A good way to know this is by using the present moment. In this moment, right now, you can just pay attention to your breath. As an example, right now, just feel your breath moving in and out of your body. In this moment, you are provided for, you have everything you need, you are living and breathing. If you stay in this present moment, you will realize that you do not need a story. What kind of story do you need in this present moment? Nothing. You do not need anything. You do not need any validation for your sad story, or story of triumph, or any story at all. In the present moment, you have everything so you do not need a story.
Every Person You Will Meet Has A Story
Every person you meet will most likely have a story because they do not practice mindfulness. The ego will use each story to attack you or another person. When you see others that are arguing in public, it is easy to see that they have some sort of victimization story. This story allows them to attack others in public. The story is useful for the ego. The ego needs drama. It needs drama to survive. The identity that we put on the story allows us to create a whole lot of drama. In the drama, we are always the good guys and others are bad or evil. Most of the time, there are no good nor bad guys. We just create labels in our heads that are not truth. The actions are often like “this guy is going to be the bad guy or villain, I will make others believe it also. I will get allies for my cause so that I can attack him and make myself be the righteous person. I will even lie to do it.”
Does that sound familiar? It should. Almost everyone has experienced that in themselves or others at some point in their lives. So the stories can give us a lot of suffering. It can make people close to us suffer also. We add something to the story everyday. Everyday, people add something to the story. I am a victim again today because of so and so. I will add this to my story. It goes on and on. A cycle of suffering they don’t want to leave. We have to be mindful of our story. We cannot be attached it. Being attached to the identity will cause a lot of suffering. If we have to tell ourselves a story, at least make it a happy one and not something sad.