I recently had the ridiculously great misfortune of watching 1948’s video classic, “Anna Karenina”, based on Leo Tolstoy’s novel of the same name. By that experience alone, I wouldn’t touch the book with a 10-foot pole.
I sense hackles rising from Tolstoy fans and Vivien Leigh admirers. Steady on, there… I’m willing to concede that the book may outstrip the movie, and that Vivien Leigh is an unparalleled beauty.
But otherwise, I feel compelled to note that the characters are, without fail, self-consumed drama queens. And if you don’t want the ending spoiled before you have a chance to see for yourself, don’t read any further…
BAD STORYTELLING: WHY ANNA IS A NINCOMPOOP
For an impartial summary of the storyline, have a gander at Wikipedia. For the purposes of this blog, suffice it to say that Anna talks herself into believing that nobody loves her and, as a result, becomes unlovable. In the final scenes, Anna gasps out a daft, self-pitying soliloquy regarding something that, short of freaky telepathic powers, she could neither know nor control – other people’s thoughts. Then she throws herself in front of a train.
Yeah. Drama queen.
If you ascertained that I have zero patience for this kind of self-destructive nincompoopery, you’d be right. BUT, keep in mind that the traits we tolerate least in others are often a direct reflection of the traits we subconsciously like least about ourselves. More on that in an upcoming blog.
SO, WHO IS THE WORLD’S BEST STORYTELLER?
By now, you’ve probably figured out what I’m angling at. The World’s Best Storyteller… is YOU.
The stories we tell ourselves ABOUT ourselves hold infinitely greater power than any novel, tale, chronicle, anecdote, yarn, or headliner. These are our internal stories about who we are, how we act, what we value, which habits stick, what are futures will be, how we expect to be perceived, and all those other life altering things that make us who we are today, tomorrow, and yesterday.
Change your inner story – change who you are.
I used to be shy… or was I? Doesn’t really matter, because that was the story I spent 20 years drilling into the fiber of my being. It may have been perpetuated by external judgement, but it was cultivated, ripened, harvested, and replanted by me.
About 10 years ago, out of necessity, I decided that I was NOT actually shy, but simply valued peace and solitude more than your average human being. That being said, I was perfectly capable of “working a room” and “being a social butterfly”.
Did I really flip-flop personalities overnight, or did I actually flip-flop MY PERCEPTION of my personality? I believe we both know the answer to that.
I’ll say it again: Change your inner story – change who you are.
HOW TO NOT WANT TO JUMP IN FRONT OF MOVING TRAINS
First and foremost, your stories are YOURS. If someone wants to tell you that you are a shrimpy burger-flipper, and that is not your aspiration, then buck up and write out a different outcome. No one has the right to scribble over your story – NO ONE.
Secondly, check in on what you consider “eternal truths” about yourself. Where did they originate? Are they YOURS? Are they holding you back, or moving you forward? Let go of what makes you want to play on busy railroad tracks.
Finally, take a cue from Anna’s ludicrous behavior, and ditch the dramatics. Your story can be amazing without being the stuff of Star Magazine scandal-mongering. No writing skills needed – just self-confidence and self-respect.
I see a greater fate for you and me than becoming railroad pancakes. Let’s create some stories!!
“Whatever our fate is or may be, we have made it and do not complain of it.” ~ Count Vronsky to Anna Karenina in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
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