Do You Know Your True Self?
Do you know your true self? Before you answer, consider carefully how you think about your self. Are you happy with your life or are you unhappy? Do you go through your life with a sense of adventure, accomplishment, and happiness? Or do you continually focus on your faults and your failings?
What if the root of your unhappiness is that you don’t know your true self identity?
The Swan Who Doesn’t Know His True Self Identity
The “ugly duckling” is actually a swan who thinks he is a duck. Why? Everyone around him calls him a duck—an “ugly duckling.”
The story tells of how the swan who thinks he is an ugly duckling is tormented by everyone around him. He finally reaches the point where he has had enough. He runs away.
The Secret To Become Your True Self
This classic story of the ugly duckling about transformation reveals a powerful secret about how to get rid of a false identity and become your true self.
The ugly duckling becomes an explorer seeking a happier life.
The swan who thinks he is an ugly duckling goes through many ordeals and hardships before he finally knows the secret of happiness.
He finds happiness when sees himself as he truly is for the first time. At last, he knows his true self identity. He is not a duck. He is a swan.
He was a swan all the time, but he didn’t know his true identity until he could see his own reflection in the clear water of a pond.
Andersen ends the story with these words:
I never dreamed of such happiness as this while I was an ugly duckling.
This story captures the secret of transformative stories. You cannot be happy until you see your true self.
When You Believe What Others Say About Your Identity
The story of the “ugly duckling” also contains another profound truth about your true self.
Everyone in the story was wrong.
There is nothing ugly about the baby swan in the picture on this page. It’s only when everyone insists that the baby swan is a duck that they decide that he is an ugly duck.
In other words, you can’t always trust what other people declare to be true about your true self identity.
Stories And Your True Identity
Stories are one of the most powerful methods of creating self identity. Everyone in the story of the “ugly duckling” made up a story about the swan.
If you think about your life, and what you believe to be true about yourself, you will discover how much stories also shaped your identity.
The question is: Were the stories about your identity true or were they stories about a false identity? Have you gone through life believing that you are an “ugly duck” when you are actually a swan?
Seeking Your True Self
What if much of the unhappiness in your life is the result of stories you learned about who you are?
If you think about the stories you learned as a child, what did the stories teach you? Did they teach you to be happy, to be courageous, to be adventurous? Or did the stories teach you to sad, afraid, and timid?
Change Your Life By Changing Your Stories
If you want to change your life, the most powerful thing you can do is change the stories of your life.
Stories are the operating system of your life. The operating system in your computer controls the programs that run on your computer. Stories have the same effect in your life. They run your life.
Stories tell you who you are. Stories tell you how to live. Stories also teach you who has the right to tell you what to do.
If you are struggling to change something in your life, the place to begin is to identify the story you tell yourself about this situation. If you want to change your life, you need to change your story.
More than anything else, people stay stuck in old patterns despite good intentions and efforts to change until they change the stories that keep them stuck.
This means you cannot change your life until you change the stories that run your life.
What Are Your Stories?
If you think about your life in terms of the stories you heard again and again, you will begin to discover how much your self identity has been shaped by those stories.
What were your favorite stories, either from your own life or from books, movies, and family lore? What stories did you hear again and again when you were young?
What did the stories teach you?
- Did they teach you to be powerful?
- Did they teach you to be obedient?
- Did they teach you to be afraid?
- Did they teach you to imagine yourself capable of accomplishing great things?
- Did they teach you to mind your manners and don’t step out of line?
These questions are worth investigating. If you can identify the power of stories in your life, you will recognize the power of stories to define who you think you are.
When you ask these questions, you will also discover that the stories that rule you are usually inherited stories. You didn’t choose them.
You inherited stories from your family. What are the stories your family told about you? What are the stories they told about your family history and the place of your family in society?
You also inherited stories in school. What stories did you hear in school about your ethnic identity, your national identity, your political identity, your sex, your race? What stories did you hear about the geographical place you lived? What did you learn about education itself?
You also inherited stories from the larger society around you. What stories did you hear from TV and radio and movies about society, about money, about education, about work, about social status, about gender, about sexuality, about race, about business, about politics, about law, about government, about the place of your country in the world?
These stories are the tip of the iceberg. We live awash in a sea of stories. This flood of stories tells you who you are, what you are, why you are, and what you are to do.
You also inherited stories from religious education. What religious stories did you hear about human nature and the purpose of human life and your true self identity?
Religious stories are especially powerful because of the authority vested in them as God’s will for human life.
Even if you never had any specific religious education, religious beliefs about your identity are everywhere. We are all like fish swimming in the ocean. Just as the fish are immersed in the ocean, we are immersed in a culture shaped by religious beliefs about what it is to be human.
The Bad Bible Detective
My chosen identity is the Bad Bible Detective.
What do I mean by Bad Bible?
The Bible itself is not “bad.” It is misuse of the Bible that turns it into Bad Bible.
As a Biblical scholar, I am acutely aware of the power of religious stories to trap people from Christian backgrounds in guilt, shame, anxiety, and fear based on the stories they learned in their religious education.
What do I mean by Detective?
Detectives investigate crimes. Crime is a familiar word with a specific meaning. In common law, a crime is an action that causes harm to the whole society.
My underlying claim is that the Bible itself can be used as a weapon to harm the innocent, the powerless, and the vulnerable. This is when the Bible becomes Bad Bible.
Even more significantly, when any part of the Bible is used as a weapon of power against the vulnerable, the use and abuse of the Bible come under the category of crimes—even if there are no laws in any criminal code to cover them.
Anytime anyone is demeaned, abused, and harmed, it affects all of us.
What About Belief?
My websites are not typical Bible study sites. They are also not Bible-bashing sites.
They are about the power of religious stories to rule your life. They also offer a liberating perspective on Bible stories told as you have never heard them before.
You don’t have to believe in God, Jesus, or the Bible to be affected by Bible stories. And you don’t have to abandon faith in God, Jesus, or the Bible to set yourself free from the power of Bad Bible to rule your life.
My goal is teach people from Christian backgrounds how to transform the religious stories that keep them stuck in fear, guilt, shame, and anxiety into empowering stories.
You will discover that the Bible often doesn’t say what you think it says.
Bible Stories And Your True Self Identity
As the Bad Bible Detective, my particular investigation concerns the connection between Bible translations and the use and misuse of Bible stories to create false self identities for believers.
Here’s the good news. You can change your life by changing your life stories.
The common theme of my interconnected websites is that you can change your life by changing inherited stories into stories about your freedom to be your true self.
Does The Bible Really Say That? Series
True Self Identity Scandal focuses on the effect of Christian sin theology on your true self identity.The theme is: Does The Bible Really Say That About Your True Identity?
Can A Rich Man Get Into Heaven focuses on Christian beliefs about money. The theme is: Does The Bible Really Say That About Money?
Bad Bible Stories
Freedom From Bad Bible Bullies is about personal freedom to be your true self. The theme is: Transform Your Bible Authority Stories To Claim Your Personal Freedom.
Bible Authority in American Politics changes focus from the power of Bible stories in your personal life to the power of Bible stories in public life. The theme is: How Radical Claims About Bible Authority Hijack Political Freedom In American Politics.
Freedom To Be Your True Self focuses on self confidence, self esteem, and happiness. The theme is: How To Be Your True Self.
Book Writing Made Simple
Book Writing Made Simple is about the art of writing, and the art of storytelling. The theme is: Book Writing Guide To Make It Simple.
For your freedom to be your true self,
P.S. If you have ever felt like the ugly duckling, you can have a new perspective on your true self identity by changing your ugly duckling stories into stories about becoming a swan.
P.S.S. You might be astounded when you realize how often Bible translations turn swans into ugly ducklings and hide your true self identity from you.
Myths are a particularly powerful type of story. Although myth definition in common speech tends to treat the word “myth” as a synonym for an untrue story, the real meaning of myth is much deeper. Myths are the real stories we live by.
In his article, “Myth, Politics and the Erosion of The American Dream,” Paul Stoller gives this myth definition. Read more…
Categories: Life Stories, What Is A Story Tags: belief system, change life, change your life, life changing story, life stories, life story, life transformation, make your own story, my life story, my own story, my story, myth definition, personal narrative, personal transformation, power of myth, power of myths, power of story, power to change, story of my life, storytelling, success in life, the power of story, the power to change, what is a myth, your life story, your life your story, your story
The hero journey is not really about how you have to change your life so that you become something you never were before. It is about becoming who you truly are.
In Joe Versus The Volcano, the hero in Joe—Joe’s authentic self—had gone into hiding because Joe was afraid.
How Joe Became Afraid
We find out in the session with Dr. Ellison that Joe had worked in the fire department. He left the fire department because he didn’t feel good. Dr. Ellison diagnoses Joe’s problem this way. Read more…
Categories: Life Stories, Money Stories Tags: authentic, authentic life, authentic self, be a hero, belief systems, change your life, hero journey, hero’s journey., joe versus the volcano, life changing, transformation process, transformation stories, true self, true to yourself, trust in yourself, who are you, your life story
As a character in the hero journey story of Joe Versus The Volcano, Dr. Ellison is the paradoxical mentor who gives the hero an essential gift that makes the journey possible.
The Mentor’s Gift In The Hero Journey
As a mentor, Dr. Ellison is both a liar and a truth teller. His money story is that he sold his soul to Mr. Granamore and is willing to lie to Joe with a made-up diagnosis. But the story is not about Dr. Ellison, and the tradeoffs he made to be Mr. Granamore’s lackey, to be willing to trade his integrity as a physician for the benefits of being Mr. Granamore’s private—and presumably well-paid—doctor. Read more…
Change Your Life As You Are Going In Circles On Your Life Storywheel makes the point that your life story is lived on a storywheel, which contains multiple storywheels all going around in circles. It emphasizes the cycles of our lives, the ups and the downs, the ascents and the descents as part of every life story.
Success In Life Depends On Focus
This post considers the importance of straight lines in any effort to accomplish specific goals. Read more…
Categories: Life Stories Tags: Apollo 13, apollo 13 mission, change life, change your life, focus, get what you want, going in circles, life changing story, life stories, life story, life transformation, moon mission, story wheel, storywheel, storywheels, success in life, the power to change, your life story, your life your story, your story
You live your life going in circles on your own life story storywheel. James Bonnet, in Stealing Fire From The Gods, uses the model of the storywheel to locate every human story somewhere on the ongoing cycle of ascents and descents.
At the same time, good stories are also linear. The hero on a hero’s journey has one mission and must focus on that objective to accomplish that mission. This means that stories require single-minded focus in one direction. Read more…
February 2, 2011 is the 125th Groundhog Day celebration in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a holiday created by a story.
“Legend has it that if Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his temporary burrow—a simulated tree stump at the rural site of Gobbler’s Knob—on February 2 and sees his shadow, winter weather will continue for six more weeks across the United States. But if Phil doesn’t see his shadow, then spring temperatures are just around the corner” (Groundhog Day 2011: Punxsutawney Phil Sees No Shadow.)
The story of Punxsutawney Phil is interesting enough as folklore, demonstrating the power of stories to create traditions. It also demonstrates the curious human habit of using animals of all varieties as sources of wisdom, in the form of morality tales to teach people some sort of lesson. In this case, a groundhog—also known as a woodchuck—has the ability to forecast how long winter will last. Read more…
The previous post, Be The Storyteller To Transform Your Life Story, identifies the critical distinction at the heart of the Story Transformation Process.
“The story transformation process makes one powerful change to the model of the hero’s journey. Instead of waiting for “flat-tire events” to change your life, you become the storyteller who creates your own hero’s journey.”
The Difference Between Problem Solving And Creating
The distinction that can do more to change your life than any other single idea is the difference between problem solving and creating. Read more…
Categories: Life Stories Tags: change your life, create your own story, creating, creation, flat-tire, flat-tire events, hero, hero journey, hero's journey, heroic journey, hero’s journey., life story, path of least resistance, problem solving, robert fritz, story transformation, story transformation process, storyteller, your life story
One of my favorite movies is Joe Vs The Volcano, a silly movie with bad reviews, which is also one of the profoundest movies I know. I’ll return to this story in other posts, but right now, I’ll quote only one line from the movie.
Who Will Be A Hero For The Waponis?
Joe has been sent to the island of Waponi Woo to save the people by jumping into a volcano on their behalf to save the island from destruction. It’s all about appeasing the volcano by offering up a willing human sacrifice to the volcano every hundred years. Read more…
What do you do when those you trust let you down? A Christmas Story also demonstrates how the adult world betrays young Ralphie’s trust.
There are two specific moments of betrayal in the movie. Both involve shattering of a belief perpetrated by the adult world on trusting children who don’t know any better. Read more…
Categories: Life Stories Tags: A Christmas Story, betray, betrayal of trust, change your life, Christmas story, hero journey, heroic journey, let you down, life stories, little orphan annie, story transformation, transform your stories, true to yourself, trust betrayal, trust in children, trust in yourself, trust yourself, your life story