Change the Narrative, Change Your Life
“Every little victory counts,” someone once said. Which victory is yours today?
Psychology Today reports that to change your story to live a happy life requires some fundamentally radical aspects of thought-pattern changes that begin with you:
- To change one’s life, one should first start with realizing who they are and what they are.
- Then, dive deeper beyond the superficial, and “the stories about yourself that others have told you,” and connect with your own story.
- Then, start to rewrite your story through “narrative reconstruction.”
“The crafting of one’s personal narrative provides individuals the sense that their lives possess some degree of unity and purpose,” according to The Narrative Reconstruction of Psychotherapy.
Psychology Today reported that many people don’t have proper boundaries of themselves to know where their responsibilities begin and end, which can, at times, be very difficult as arguments, interactions or conflict arise and they feel stuck in their ways of overreacting or not acting at all.
The mental health publication suggests answering simple questions: what are you beyond your biological makeup and who are you beyond your name?
“You may view yourself as a person who is good-looking, outgoing, confident, charming and successful. This would be an answer to ‘who’ you are. But these are just ideas and stories that you have learned to tell yourself,” according to the article, which added that, on the flip side, others might feel unattractive, a loner, too emotional or too angry.
These descriptions are part of who individuals are but not the whole story.
“These stories, or narratives, are likely to be ones that you have told yourself for so long that they become automatic, unchallenged and just matters of fact. But the story is not you. It is the recounting of an experience, the meaning you derived from it, and how you think it relates to other people and the world,” according to the article. “But depending on how you answered the ‘what’ question, your core remains pure and intact.”
As the article suggested, a person is shaped through a story, a narrative surrounding their life and from programming starting in early childhood. Parents, not surprisingly enough, help shape that narrative teaching children the ways of the world, which could be interpreted as safe or scary.
“This early programming formed the base of your personality,” according to the article.
Around middle childhood, individuals then steer the ship a bit more and begin writing their own story; during teenage years, the youth quickly decide what is not for them as music and style choices.
Into adulthood, people, seemingly stuck in their ways, feel that they cannot change who they are as a person – but not so fast.
Through narrative reconstruction people can begin to do the work which looks like:
- Recover (remember or reassemble) the story that your people (and the world) gave you in childhood.
- Write out a timeline with key events and memories that stand out to you chronologically.
- Take a look back at core beliefs of “who you are and what experiences related to your life mean.”
- Imagine talking with yourself when you were a child and give the child another way of interpreting events and the related core beliefs put into you then.
- Do not give your story over to others and “let there be more weight of your own story of who you are.”
- Develop and write a personal moral code, for example: “I am rigorously honest even when it hurts me. I stand up in appropriate ways for the rights of people [including me]. I am bold and determined.”
Begin to write your own story today.