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In my conversation this morning I was exploring the idea of how to tell one’s personal story. This is an ongoing theme of mine that generally is about retelling our past life stories, each time they come up, in a way that will improve our future life trajectory. This can easily be done by anyone, and it isn’t making up anything; it’s just deemphasizing the bad times and reemphasizing the good ones. The idea is to acknowledge our past poor experiences, but to do so in a brief and generalized way, and then to continue telling, in as great a detail as time allows, the positive things that came about because of the things that happened.

Today I brought this idea up to a group of thirteen older people, and expanded the concept somewhat by suggesting that when we tell our stories we find people who are mature. Telling our positive stories to mature people works best because they will understand on a deeper level, and will, because of their experience, wisdom and intelligence, give more profound responses and ask the ideal questions to suggest how we might enhance our experiences and grow into our future in an even more positive way. The opposite of this positive procedure is to go into a loner-bar and talk with some depressed alcoholics. That choice of action will bring out our darker responses because those drunks will tend to approve of stories of drinking to oblivion and self destruction.

At some point the group went on about the positive effects of crying to relieve the stresses associated with some traumatic event. There seemed to be considerable agreement on that approach, but I balked, and took a totally different direction. I developed the idea that crying that led into a deeper depression and despair was counterproductive. A good cry was one that relieved stress to the point where one could then relax, smile, and even laugh at oneself.  A good cry would free one’s mental outlook to where they could think more clearly and thus work toward effective solutions to their problems.

That idea was carried forward into coping with unresolvable problems. A mature person can choose to do a similar but easier problem, and after that problem was solved to return to the one that was unresolved. Using that method of re-approaching the original problem with a fresh success would bring one back to it with a more flexible mind and with some feelings of success.

I then said I wanted to up the ante with this group, because they were already mature people, and suggest that they should consider moving onto the next step beyond mature, that of being sages. In that mode of problem searching they could explore how to create methods for helping other people to cope with their realities more successfully, and as I frequently do with this group, emphasize doing something external that engages those other people. For example, they can intentionally go beyond their internal feelings of love by intentionally being externally kind to other people.

Improve your life by detailing the positive events in life stories and intentionally doing positive things for others.