How the stories you tell yourself shape your reality

Above: Dialogue, artwork from the Vintage Chinoiserie series.

Recently I was sitting in cafe near a couple of people. They looked like they were a grandfather and a grandson who was around 18.

Clearly, the young guy was about to make some big life choices because the older one was giving him a few well-meaning life lessons.

It was obvious that there was a great deal of love and respect between the two but I noticed the young man trying not to recoil as well-intentioned advice was dished out by his mentor.

“You should join the army because you’ll get a regular salary, your education will be looked after and you’ll probably get to travel,” the older one said. I figured that if the young guy wanted to go off on this kind of adventure, good on him. Go join the army!

But then the younger one said: “I don’t want to. I want to get into music.”

The older one replied: “Music is so competitive and there’s no guarantee that you’ll make it. You can still do music as a hobby, you’ll probably enjoy it more that way. If it becomes a job, you’ll end up hating it.”

I just wanted to reach out to that young man and tell him to follow his heart. But then there would be been reports of some crazy woman in Gloria Jeans trying to give unsolicited career advice to an unsuspecting teenager.

While I don’t actually know whether music would be the right path for this guy, it sure as hell sounded like he didn’t want to go into the military. Hey I have nothing against a career in the military – if you actually want to be there. But I figured it wasn’t the top choice on this guy’s list of options. And my heart broke a little to think that his mentor/grandfather was telling him that he wouldn’t make it in music. And, worse, implying that a job is something that you end up hating!

What conversations are you involved in?

We’re surrounded by many conversations every single day. And they all influence our lives, our decisions and the way we feel about ourselves.

They key is to know when to listen and when to simply block them out.

This piece is called Dialogue. It’s about the dialogue we have with others in our lives, and the imaginary conversations we create in our minds.

The reality is that we can choose the conversations we want to be in. That means we can choose to hear words that are uplifting, liberating and full of colour. Or the ones that will keep us caged forever.

The decision is ours.


By Valerie Khoo

March 8th, 2019
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