One Chooses

A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.

“The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene

Reality always remains out of reach.

The stories we choose to tell ourselves can have great power, either for or against us.

On one hand, I can look at a conflict with a coworker as an experience where I’m being micromanaged and spoken down to. But I’ve given that story a spirit, and I’ve picked and chosen the data points to support that spirit. I ignored the points where we shared similar goals on projects, where we could lean on each other to get things done, where they did an excellent job of supporting the whole team. But then the conflict is there only because of this story.

On the other hand, I can look at a friendship where things have happened in the past that I normally wouldn’t be comfortable with. Despite this, I can tell myself a story about all the times they supported me, where they comforted me, where we enjoyed spending time together. And this spin of the story allows me to trust them and move forward.

I only wish I was aware of how often I forget about the arbitrary starts and ends of my stories. Because surely none of my stories are complete.

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