In Stockholm Syndrome, people taken captive start to feel connected to their captors. Sometimes this even takes the form of love, a deep affection, a sense of dependence.

So it is with the stories out of which we live, the identities we take on. In one way, our storied account of ourselves frees us to take on all kinds of actions and relationships. But in another way, we can become so close to our stories that we come to treasure also the way that they bind us and restrict us. In keeping us captive, the stories we have about ourselves give us the feeling of being safe.

And so we start to depend upon our stories, to the extent that we can no longer tolerate the possibility that we could be anything else.

“This is what I can do, and this is what I cannot”, we say,  sometimes quietly just to ourselves “because can’t you see I’m…

an executive
a mother
so competitive
a failure
a dutiful son
very busy
highly competitive
an upstanding member of my community
trying to make things right
the breadwinner”

But you are not simply the stories you have about yourself. You never were.

Beyond all stories, beyond all accounts, you’re something much more enduring, much more mysterious, and much more alive.

When your stories start to reveal themselves as a cage, for the first time you open yourself up to the possibility of freeing yourself – always into another story, but perhaps a bigger, more generous, more compassionate and possibility filled account of what it is to be you.

Photo Credit: hector melo via Compfight cc