We sure do love our villains, don’t we? We love them in our books, our movies, our TV shows. they are so deliciously diabolical. The drama! The intensity! They bring so much to a story.
Unfortunately, we also like villains in our personal stories, the ones we so often remind ourselves of, the ones we recount to anyone who will listen. The traumatic ones, the sticky ones, the ones we use to explain why we are so messed up…those always have a villain. They have to. That’s how we get to be the hero! The survivor! The rescuer! The victim! Or whatever part we’ve assigned ourselves in the story.
But what would happen if we decided to ditch the standard formula and re-write our stories? Without villains (gasp). What if we re-write the memory of that person we have been vilifying with a new narrative? We could develop a different character, one that might inspire feelings of empathy, compassion, maybe even understanding.
Believe me, our personal accounts of history are approximations of the facts at best.
What can re-writing the narrative do? You might not like this, but it gets the villain off the hook. We can’t place blame in their hands anymore. That story only exists in the past. They may have some responsibility way back then (whether that is 2 decades or 2 days ago) but we can’t continue to say, “It’s all their fault I’m like this!”. And be honest, did they ever really feel on the hook or is that all in our heads too? Most of our villains probably have an entirely different version of the story. You might even be the villain in their account.
The flipside of them getting OFF the hook is that it gets us ON the hook. If we can’t blame them anymore, then the only person responsible for the harm, hurt or betrayal is us.
Yes, it feels a little easier to have a villain destroying our lives. When you grasp on tightly to a story where you are the victim, you don’t have to grow. You don’t have to own it. It’s so liberating to blame someone else.
Until it isn’t. Until you are trapped in that story. It will confine you. It will keep you in a box. But the absolute worst thing it will do is cause you to feel separation from others. And separation is simply a lack of love and connection. The only true liberation is love.
Here’s some more possibly upsetting news. I hate to break this to you but if other people are playing the villain in your story, guess what? It’s very likely that you are playing the villain in someone else’s. I could tell you several people I KNOW have me cast as the villain in their story. But so what? Maybe I even was a villain and did something truly diabolical. Holding myself in that role from the past in this moment now is no different. Separation, lack of love, lack of connection, all the yucky feelings that go with that like guilt, shame, remorse, blah, blah, blah.
No thanks. I can write my own version of the story. I can write myself as a character I can feel empathy for, compassion for, understanding and acceptance of … I can choose to love her and in doing that, liberate her.