Let’s be honest, you’ve probably had a better year than the twelve months that have just ended. Before you think I’m going off into happy la-la land and talk about always seeing the bright side and so on.. I’m not. I think that walking round faking happiness and telling everybody that you’re feeling wonderful, isn’t wonderful. However there’s a world of difference between that and keeping in mind some (or even one) personal and uplifting story.

Starfish on a beach
Don’t worry, it’s not THAT starfish story

A personal and uplifting story can do just that, it can help us keep some perspective when times could be better. Personal or shared stories are shown to be better than other people’s (made up) stories, however nice those made up stories are.

My favourite made up story

There’s a heart warming story doing the rounds called the starfish story. Two people walking along the beach see a load of starfish lying on the sand, left high and dry by the tide. One of the people picks up a starfish and throws it into the sea, when the other says “what was the point of that, see all these others, you didn’t make a difference”. I’ve heard several versions of this where (Barack Obama, Richard Branson, “the wise old man) turn round and say “I made a difference to that one”.

So it’s a nice story, but it’s somebody else’s and “cute story” isn’t the same as personal story when it comes to being uplifting. What’s your story?

My starfish story

I’m a scuba diver, I see starfish in their natural habitat and I marvel at nature. One year I dived around an old shipwreck and saw a star fish with three broken (missing) arms. I saw several other starfish climbing over each other and some crab attacking starfish. Nature can be tough.

Later that year I was back on the same dive, only there were only a couple of starfish. One of the looked like an old friend, only it now had three more arms than before (well, they looked partially grown back anyway). Was it the same one, who knows – but it always reminds me of how amazing nature can be.

Starfish eating shellfish
It’s not the broken starfish, but they were eating the shellfish

The coral reefs I’ve swum over which have grown back after looking decimated.

The rubbish discarded into the water, which coral has grown on, or creatures have used for home.

 Uplifting stories I tell myself

When times are tough it’s easy to get too self reflective, specially if you’re introverted. Remember the most powerful phrase in the human language – “I choose”.

I choose to stick to my positive stories and images, rather than get too reflective. So when I need uplifting I stick to my stories, things I’ve seen where life has been tough – but nature has come through. It might not be the story to do it for you, but perhaps it will remind you of something great in your life.

Red legged crab wandering around