Listen and Reflect. Your Story Has Secrets and Wisdom to Share

by Aileen

water lilly

“Not only is your story worth telling, but it can be told in words so painstakingly eloquent that it becomes a song.”
-Gloria Naylor

It’s nearing the end of 2011, and for many of us, it’s a time of reflection. Reflect upon this passing year, looking towards the upcoming year, 2012, and thinking of any resolutions or goals we desire.

It’s mental cleaning time.

Sweep the floors of your mind, dust the corners, and re-arrange.

But, before you simply ponder your successes, and non-successes, and evaluate what you want in life, just stop.

Stop for a moment, or longer, and listen to your life story.

When’s the last time you heard yourself tell your life story?

Most of us don’t pay much attention to our life story, yet it affects the way we perceive our life, what we expect… it affects how we go about achieving our dreams, or how we let them go.

Many of us aren’t truly aware of what we believe about ourselves. Yet, how we see ourselves largely determines our outcome in life. So, it’s pretty important to get really clear about whether we see ourselves as a Lion, or a Mouse, in this life.

The Benefits of Listening to Your Life Story

1. Clarity and Insight – When we listen to our own personal life story, we can get really clear about how we actually see ourselves.  We’ll see if we’re headed for unstoppable self-empowerment, or headed toward defeat.

2. Road-map for change After you listen to your life story, you’ll have a better idea of how on track you are and how off you might be, You can begin to put together a road map of small steps toward the life you desire. The roadmap will tell you what you need to fix or adjust. It will show you where you are in relation to where you want to be, and it will tell you what might stand in your way, based on your internal point of view.  Your life story will show you what your obstacles tend to be, what your patterns are, and it will give you the self-knowledge you need to create a path for yourself.


The process may take an hour, or several hours, so whatever time you’ve got, make a decision to book an appointment with yourself, and tell yourself your life story. OR, even better, tell a friend and listen to theirs. You may want to record it on a digital recorder, you may want to jot notes, but LISTEN.

Keep these questions in mind as you recall your life story:

  • Is your story self-empowering, or is it a sad story of someone who was a victim to someone or some circumstance?
  • What are the overarching themes?
  • Does your story focus more on the things you found joy in, or the things you found pain in?
  • Does your story share your successes –  the little ones, the medium ones, and the big ones? Or does it share mostly failures and things that didn’t work out?
  • As you tell your story do you feel sad, or do you feel inspired and strong?

Be honest when telling your story, and be honest when looking at your overall themes.  If you have dreams you want to live, you’ll want to clean your mindset before you continue your journey.  If your attitude is filled with fear, limitations, and thoughts of it not working out, then you’re setting yourself up for defeat.

By listening to yourself tell (or write) your life story, you’ll gain insight into what your actual point of view is. You’ll notice that your story has overarching themes and patterns.

Guideline for Recalling Your Life Story

Take the time to do melt into this exercise, and go back as far as you can remember.

1)  In your mind, go to the day you were born. Start here. You might describe the family you were born into, or whatever you can think of.

2)  Go through each year. You may have no memories prior to pre-school or kindergarten, but take yourself there. It may be best to lie on the ground and close your eyes as you walk yourself through each and every year of your life.

3)  Pay attention to the emotions you feel as you go through each year, and look for memories that stand out the most.

4)  Can you describe your personality?

5)  Can you describe how you felt about situations?

6)  Can you describe your relationship with your family members?

7)  Can you describe friendships?

8)  What were your thoughts of school and home?

9)  What were some of the best things that happened, blessings, things you’re grateful for?

10) What were your dreams, goals, desires?

11)  What were your fears and stresses?

12)  Walk through elementary school, high school, college, walk through your 20’s, your 30’s your 40’s etc… What memories stand out the most?

13)  Notice emotional patterns?

14)   Notice themes?

15)   Notice life patterns (such as making friends easily, or hard to make friends or patterns of success or defeat)


  • Did you find yourself discovering turning-point moments where you changed your life, changed your life direction, changed your mindset?
  • Did you discover an overarching theme of failure, defeat, hurt, neglect or any other reflection of low self-esteem, negative self-belief, which causes patterns of self-sabotage that you didn’t realize?
  • Did you discover that you’re living what you once only dreamed of?
  • Did you awaken self-empowerment?
  • Did you get crystal clear on what you want to change about yourself, or celebrate the changes you’ve made?

If you don’t like how you see your life story, or you don’t like the themes and patterns; you can change it!

If we take the time to discipline our mind, and keep our thoughts empowered we set ourselves up for success.

It’s a perfect time of year to see how far we’ve come, or see if we got stuck along the way, and re-route ourselves in the direction of our dreams.

Motivation likes to be fed with successes and wins. The more we journey toward our dreams and the more we see it blossoming the stronger our motivation grows. The opposite works too, when we don’t see success or progress we may feel like giving up and being defeated.

Do yourself a wonderful favor, and listen to your life story. Identify your life patterns. See what you need to change within your mind and your habits. See what you have changed and what you’ve accomplished and celebrate your successes, all of them, the big ones and the tiny ones.

When’s the last time you listened to your story?

Have you been able to re-write or re-frame your story, if so has it helped you?


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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

David Stevens December 12, 2011

Hi Aileen,
A great 2012 is just around the corner, the excitement is building. However before that I/we have another 18 days of excitable living left in 2011 to cap off another calendar year. I “review” my story quite often, look at the twists & turns, what I did/didn’t do well.
Admittedly I am more of a person who looks at this very moment and what my future may be like. Be excited, be positive. Thank you for this & may your 2012 be what you want it to be.
be good to yourself
David Stevens´s last [type] ..Living Life Today – When your day feels like a “bummer”


Aileen December 13, 2011

” However before that I/we have another 18 days of excitable living left in 2011 to cap off another calendar year.” Ahhh David, you so live in the present :) 18 more days to be present in 2011, yes!


Angela Artemis|Powered by Intuition December 12, 2011

Hi Aileen,
This was magnificent! Listening to our story is a brilliant way to see where we have cultivated a story that is not in our best interest. Perfect timing too with 2012 around the corner.
Angela Artemis|Powered by Intuition´s last [type] ..What is Psychic Amnesia?


Aileen December 13, 2011

It’s pretty interesting how many ways – how many points of view – we can have when looking at our stories, our situations, our lives. It can be a pretty empowering thing to explore the view points and see if from different perspectives.


John Sherry December 13, 2011

Oh, too true Aileen. I’ve done nothing but re-live my life story in the last few years to re-trace the experiences, the patterns, and the decisions I’ve made that have led me to where I am, but also to uncover and witness the true person, the real me, often glimpsed but never brought out into the open, hiding behind the events of my past. To know YOU is to love YOU i.e. you, yourself. When we look back we are looking in a mirror and the reflection of who we are is always there. It’s about BEING the story, not having it told to you.
John Sherry´s last [type] ..Sports Professionals Wanted


Aileen December 14, 2011

“When we look back we are looking in a mirror and the reflection of who we are is always there.” Sometimes I stand in awe at the true reality of life – we can actually see life through the eyes of a negative perspective and we can see the exact same life through the eyes of a positive experience. We are all made of strength, courage, wisdom, fortitude and greatness but sometimes we see through unempowered eyes and only see the ‘yuck’ – it’s a mental discipline to be willing to excavate – dig deep into our own personal history and put the pieces together in a different way – and for some of us – it’s the best thing we could ever do. It’s a way to find freedom, and re-create our story, change the our self perception and really change our life.

From this side of the fence, I’ve enjoyed watching your journey over the last year and a half or so – you live true to your purpose, you live bold and it’s inspiring.


Sandra / Always Well Within December 13, 2011


This seems like a huge but magnificent assignment! Quite amazing really. You have given me a lot to think about. Hugs to you.
Sandra / Always Well Within´s last [type] ..One Powerful Word 2012: A Simple Approach to New Year’s Resolutions


Aileen December 14, 2011

Hi Sandra :) it is a pretty huge assignment, I know. I thought twice about posting it – but it’s really worth taking the time and emotional journey to really delve deeply into it.


Paige | simple mindfulness December 14, 2011

This is the perfect way to examine one’s life to see the kind of person we’ve been. I’m finally deeply understanding the concept that, before setting goals, we must decide on the kind of person we want to be. All choices are made from there. Without examining this critical part of the equation, setting goals is somewhat fruitless. If we procrastinate or somehow don’t reach our goals, we’re not believing that we’re the kind of person who would have those goals in their life. Our current situation is a reflection of how we see ourselves.

Thank you, Aileen, for this beautiful and detailed practice of self-examination!
Paige | simple mindfulness´s last [type] ..Mindful Body: Creating the Body You Want With New Choices


Joe Wilner December 16, 2011


This is a wonderful post! We really can gain a lot of self-awareness by listening to our life narrative. The way we explain our ourselves, accomplishments, failure, and relationships all gives us insight into our self-concept and the patterns we follow in life experiences. I think our story can change year to year and this really can help us move away from past regrets and see how much positive change we can make.
Joe Wilner´s last [type] ..How Positive Psychology can help us Embrace the Hopeful Message of Christmas


Neseret December 16, 2011

Hi Aileen,

Thank you for so many wise and wonderful questions. I was recently thinking about my story. People often tell me my story is inspiring. I sometimes feel there is a lot more to my story than what I share in my “about” section of my blog. It is difficult to put in to words all of an individual’s life story. As the saying goes every person has a book in them.

I like your suggestion of really reflecting on our stories. Our stories are a reflection of the choices we make in life. Our stories connect us to other people. We can understand where they’re coming from, and we can relate. Our stories create bond with our fellow human beings.

I agree this is a great time to reflect. I am in the process of doing so and this post was the perfect gift for me today. Thank you. Wishing you many blessings.

Peace, Love & Gratitude,

Neseret´s last [type] ..Avoid Stress, Anxiety, Drama and Blues This Holiday


Galen Pearl December 19, 2011

I think this is a perfect project for me at the end of this year. In a few weeks, I’ll celebrate my 60th birthday, so what good timing to reflect not only over my year, but over my life. I’m going to print this out and take it with me to my cabin in the mountains where I will spend the last days of the year. This will be my focus. Thank you sooooooo much!
Galen Pearl´s last [type] ..So Soon?


Aileen December 20, 2011

Happy Birthday!!!! 60 is a wonderful time to reflect, look back and plan future dreams. How wonderful you’ll take the last days of this year and spend it in a cabin in the mountains – sounds so divine!
Have a most magical year end. and celebration of the new year ahead, and wonderful birthday celebration.


Noch Noch December 20, 2011

this is great guidance. i’m trying to write out my own story. as some sort of therapy for myself recovering from major depression these 2 years. i also want it to help me move on. and hopefully some experience to share and inspire others to not give up and to do what they love. this thinking map is great for me as i look through my old journals
Noch Noch
Noch Noch´s last [type] ..a new page


Aileen December 20, 2011

The therapy process is so different for each individual, it can seem overwhelming to try and navigate ones way through it. Writing and re-writing one’s own personal story can be of great help in observing how we see our life experience, and it can give us an empowering perspective. As you know, when a person has gone through long periods of time in depression, it can be hard to see life through a different perspective because the depression can take over. We really can re-route ourselves and create a map to better, more fulfilling life experience. Not easy, but possible.

I’m glad you found this to help helpful. I wish you ease, stamina, love and light as you move through the recovering process into wellness.


jack foley December 29, 2011

Hi Aileen,

This is something I will redo on my blog. I think a good life story brings people closer to you and builds trust..

Tanks for the share..
jack foley´s last [type] ..Diversification-So-Important-In-Investing


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