‘Who do you think you are?’ is a popular BBC TV genealogy program that has spread to other countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United States.
In Australia, its screening is sponsored by Ancestry where you can explore your own family history.
It seems we’re all interested in finding out about the family histories of so called famous people, going by the popularity of the program.
The success of family history sites like Ancestry suggests we’re interested in our own family histories as well. The question is – why?
Is who you are determined by your position in your family tree?
If you know the stories of the families you belong to – does that actually tell you who you are?
Or does it merely give you the context into which you were born?
After all, you are not your grandfather – no matter what amazing things he did in his lifetime.
Maybe you’ve benefited from the material success of the people who make up your bloodline – maybe you haven’t.
What difference does it make to know that your great-great-grandmother was a slave? Look back far enough, if the records exist, and we all have a slave or two in our genealogies – that was the lot of most people in most parts of the world at one time or another. Rome might have been ruled by Caesar but it was built and operated by slaves.
Delving into your family history is entertaining, and it can reveal glimpses of the lives people lived in previous eras. We can all learn something about the story of life on earth from such research. If you have the time, the inclination and the cash, go ahead and have fun.
While you’re enjoying yourself, keep in mind that you are no more defined by your genealogy than you are by your nationality – they are both just stories.
You can choose to believe that you are defined by the stories of other people – your choice – by why limit yourself?
Thanks for dropping by, Peter.
Every moment of every day is story time.
Take a moment and listen to that voice in your head.
What story are you telling yourself about yourself today?
Whether you’re aware of what you’re doing or not, you are telling your story all the time. You’re telling it in your self talk and when you’re telling others about yourself. You’re telling it in all those thoughts you have about yourself.
What story are you telling? Are you putting yourself down? Are you limiting your possibilities by saying that there are things you can’t do? Qualities you can’t have? Is your story the same as everybody else’s?
Are you deliberately crafting your story or simply repeating the same story over and over?
Who is the author of the stories you tell yourself about yourself?
Is it you?
You can be the author of your story but you need to make that a deliberate choice.
If you don’t pay attention to your storytelling you end up repeating things – mindlessly. Those things could be lies. They might have been true once, but there is a fair chance they are nothing more than opinions – that you have not consciously examined.
Here’s something to think about. If you keep telling the same story nothing changes. If you want things to change in your life you need to start telling a new story.
Start telling yourself the story of who you want to be – and grow into being that person.
You won’t change when things around you change.
Things around you change when you change – and you need to tell yourself a new story if you want to change.
I know this sounds easy but in reality it’s a real challenge – simply because we are creatures of habit. It’s so easy going with the flow of the familiar. It takes commitment to make a deliberate choice to change the narrative of your story and to stick with that choice.
You also have to contend with peer pressure – from those people who want you to stay the same.
The fun is in the changing not in the staying with the herd. So, go for it!
Thanks for dropping by, Peter.
Another of Jeshua’s ‘it is not possible’ statements to spend some time with.
How often have you believed that something you said or did or failed to say or do hurt or harmed someone? How many times has someone accused you of hurting them?
If this is a true statement, as Jeshua asserts, and you cannot harm anyone – it must apply the other way around as well. No-one can harm you. No-one can hurt you.
How many times have you believed that you have been hurt by another?
I know that I’ve been there. I’ve felt the pain of rejection, the pain of being overlooked, the pain of being the one not picked, the pain of being defeated, the pain of being the one slighted.
If Jeshua’s statement is correct, where does all that hurt come from?
Let’s start with emotional pain, that feeling of being hurt as a result of something we want to see as being outside of ourselves. But it’s not outside of us, is it? The source of the hurt is always within – it’s the interpretation we make of the event, it’s our perception of what happened, and not what actually happened, that generates the pain or feeling of being hurt.
If that’s true for you, it’s also true for everybody else, whether they want to acknowledge that reality or not – and there are plenty of us who still want to blame someone outside of ourselves. But that’s okay. We’re all at different points on the journey. Some of us are reluctant starters. Some of us are stuck at various points wondering what to do next. It doesn’t matter. You can always start or restart from where you are.
What about physical harm? What if you hit somebody? Or worse, what if you shoot somebody? That harms them, doesn’t it?
The answer depends on the limits of your beliefs. If you believe you are the body, then the evidence clearly shows that you can harm another physically.
We know from direct experience that bodies can be hurt or crippled, and that sometimes the person associated with that body appears likewise damaged. But is it true that damaging the body is the same as damaging the person?
If you have moved beyond identifying yourself as your body, you will experience a different answer to the one implied by the evidence perceived through your eyes.
I think we would all agree that after his horse riding accident on May 27, 1995, Christopher Reeves’ body was broken – but was Christopher Reeves broken? For me, his life after that event clearly demonstrated that although his body was damaged, he was not. Read Christopher Reeves’ story and make up your own mind.
This is another of Jeshua’s statements that challenges us to push beyond the apparently true and delve into the deeper possibilities of life. And, it’s a reminder that, ultimately, you are responsible for how you feel regardless of the circumstances you call your life.
Frightening at one level. Liberating at another.
As always, you get to choose the level at which you experience life.
If you don’t like the experience – change your choice.
Thanks for dropping by, Peter