As a therapist, Lori Gottlieb's inbox is full of letters from complete strangers all over the world sharing their deepest secrets, fears and worries.
Aptly, she organizes all these letters in a folder in her laptop named 'The Problems of Living'.
And in her Ted Talk, 'How Changing Your Story Can Change Your Life', Lori reads out one of the letters.
Just by reading the letter, it's easy to empathize with the woman for the situation she is in and the anxiety she is experiencing and dislike her husband for cheating on her.
But Gottlieb points out that if there's anything that she has learned as a therapist in dealing with thousands of clients, it's this - as humans, "we are all unreliable narrators of our own lives."
Our stories are often incomplete, inaccurate and even just plain wrong and while we may not be doing this deliberately, our stories are often narrated from our points of view - thereby leaving out the crucial details and being unaware of alternate versions of the same story.
And to make her point, she reads out another letter.
As you can see, a different story can totally change the narrative.
Now Gottlieb does confess that she wrote the version of the husband's letter, but she reveals that there have been numerous instances where she has heard and read two versions of the same story from her therapy clients and column readers.
The biggest takeaway is in order for us to become unstuck and change our lives, we need to step out of our stories and start narrating them from a third-person point of view to get a wider perspective.
Nothing drives home this point more beautifully than the cartoon Gottlieb shares in her Ted Talk which shows a prisoner in bars who is desperately struggling to break free without realizing the sides are completely open.
Gottlieb reveals that when we are depressed, lonely or rejected, we distort our stories through a very narrow lens which keep us trapped and helpless.
As she wisely points out, it's not our circumstances that shape our stories, rather it's the way we narrate our stories that shape our lives and by changing our stories we can change our lives.
Enjoy her fantastic Ted Talk and check out her book 'Maybe You Should Talk to Someone'.