Breathe Issue 22

A life story can be many things – a tale of unwavering self-belief and an eagerness to tackle fresh challenges regardless of others’ perceptions; a narrative choked by self-doubt, opportunities missed; a chronicle where self-belief is ever-shifting, sometimes towering above the rooftops, occasionally disintegrating in the basement, but mostly at street level, with chances taken (or not) accordingly.

One thing a life story doesn’t have to be, however, is set. A limiting self-belief, for instance, is often formed in childhood (humans seem to have an unerring ability to pick up on negative comments and experiences while eschewing positive feedback and underplaying achievements) but what if it isn’t true? What if it were challenged robustly and proved to be woefully inaccurate?

With this information, the plot could move forward in any number of different directions. Let’s crush a limiting self-belief that any creative endeavours will end in abject humiliation. This opens up the opportunity to explore a long-held passion, to embark on, say, a writing, pottery or painting course and see what happens.

It also offers the chance to start as a beginner again, to be more comfortable with not knowing a subject or being ‘good’ at it, to feel able to put up a hand and ask questions (it isn’t only children who find this nerve-racking) and just, well, to experiment. And it moves the plot on.

A life story can change. The plot can twist and turn and, if desired, take on a new lease of life – and there’s always room for a happy ending.