You know that little voice inside your head that tells you you’re not qualified to chase your dreams? Perhaps there’s a story from your past that keeps resurfacing and holding you back. No matter who you are or how successful you’ve become, you probably struggle with this narrative from time to time.
I struggle with these stories daily. Through the years the stories have changed. I’ve learned to be more mindful and grant myself grace. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that these voices never go away.
The beauty of these narratives, however, is that they’re accompanied by choices. We can choose to recognize them for what they are. We can choose to stop believing them. We can rewrite these stories to work in our favor. We have the power to change our character from the victim to the hero.We have the power to change our character from the victim to the hero. Click To Tweet
These stories are not about lying to ourselves and filling our head with delusional fantasies. We are reframing the story so that it leads us to success. We do this in a realistic and rational manner.
The Voices in Your Head
As long as I’ve been working to build the foundation for my best life, I’ve been aware of these voices. I began dealing with them by recognizing that these stories are lies. Sometimes these lies are made up in our own minds. Sometimes other people convince us that we are the lies that they see. For some of us, these lies are some of our earliest memories.
Recognizing that these stories are untrue is a good start. But I learned a more powerful process for changing your narrative at a conference this year. During the conference, the speaker discussed the power of the stories we tell ourselves. He shared his own story, first in the voice of a victim, then as a story of power. He had each attendee do the same. It was immensely freeing.
Writing a Powerful Narrative
Rewriting your narrative is the best way to take past challenges and reframe them in a way that gives you power. For example, many people I know have expressed that their parents were extremely critical when they were growing up. As a result, they began to believe that nothing was ever good enough. Or worse, that they would never be good enough.Rewriting your narrative reframes past challenges into a story that's empowering. Click To Tweet
Think about what strengths could come from having a critical parent. There are actually quite a few. Many of these people are exceptionally successful.
They take pride in their work and always do their best. They are independent and adapt quickly to new ideas and situations. People who grew up with critical parents are often disciplined, high achievers.
Yes, their parents were hard on them. Yes, there’s emotional baggage. But from this experience they grew stronger and developed important life skills.
It’s All About Winning
In the book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, there’s a story about a boy who has hit by a bus. In an effort to protect him, his parents inadvertently wrote a story in which he was the victim. One of the ways they did this was by taking him out of school so that he wouldn’t be teased. Eventually, the boy became very depressed and his parents took him to see a therapist.
Rather than feeling sorry for the boy, the therapist asked him what it was like to fight a bus and win. This became the narrative of their sessions. She even had him write and illustrate a book where he was the hero. He eventually went back to school, shared his story and got his life back. This is a great example of the power of a winning narrative.
What’s Your Story?
What have you been telling yourself that’s holding you back? What did you experience growing up that haunts you to this day? Listen for words like, I can’t, I never, I always, no one, and everyone.
Recognize these stories. Write them down. Then rewrite them in a way that gives you power.Recognize these stories. Write them down. Rewrite them in a way that gives you power. Click To Tweet
Why Your Story Matters
Changing your story will help you help yourself. You’ll also open yourself up to be helped by others.
No one likes a victim. Have you ever been around someone who seems obsessed with all the things that are wrong with their life? Perhaps they say things like, “You just got lucky.” Or,“I deserve to feel sorry for myself.” Do you want to spend more time with these people or less?
When we spew negativity, positive people will try to avoid us. Misery loves company. Eventually, we’ll be surrounded by more negativity and keep digging a deeper pit.
When you change your story to a positive one, you’ll see more positive people hanging around. When you change your narrative, you change your life from the inside out. It starts with you and permeates through out your social circle.
When you change your narrative, you change your life from the inside out. Click To Tweet
The stories we tell are in our hands. We can choose to make them positive or negative. We can make them harmful or helpful. But at the end of the day, we must take accountability for the choice that we make.
Have you used a similar practice to change your narrative? What were the results?
Share in the comments below.