Change Your Story; Change Your Life

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by Dr. Barbara Lowe

What I am about to share will transform your life.

If you let it. 

We all observe our own lives and make up stories, or themes about ourselves, our importance, our lives.  We collect evidence to build upon those themes, often ignoring evidence to the contrary. Too often; this story-making can be unhelpful, painful, or self-sabotaging.

We all have our own examples of unhelpful self-stories.

Here is Kate’s story*:

When Kate was growing up, her younger brother, who was born with significant and complex medical challenges, required much more attention than her parents were able to give Kate or her other two older sisters. Over time, Kate began to write an unhelpful narrative about herself, that she was less important than those around her. This self-imposed storyline painted rejection on parts of her soul, and negatively impacted her self-image. She unknowingly began to accumulate evidence to support a sense of inferiority within her peer and teacher-student relationships. At the same time, she actually ignored evidence that she was favored and valued from those around her. From the outside, she did not look particularly wounded, as the unhelpful story was something hidden inside her. Nonetheless, this stronghold impacted the outcomes of her life. For instance, she often felt it difficult to voice her needs to those close to her, and she had trouble believing she was valuable enough to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. As a young adult, she finally allowed herself to inspect and explore the veracity of this story. With the help of her therapist, she dismantled and inspected the faulty story, challenged its premises, and began to see she was living with a lie. With support, she dosed her mind and soul with generous spoonfuls of self-acceptance and fact-checking truth regarding her value. She changed her story to one that rightly esteemed herself and forgave others. …and she found real freedom from insecurities, a new joyful confidence, and boldness to pursue her dreams. Her relationships also grew healthier and became more satifying.

To make up a faulty and unhelpful story about yourself, and then to build upon it, is to be human. Psychologists call this the “confirmation bias” and we all do it, to some extent, in various situations. We create stories about ourselves and seek out evidence that will support those stories. But what if our original story premise is faulty, pain producing, or self sabotaging?

Where are you making up an unhelpful or pain-producing story about yourself?

What is the faulty theme in your life that is causing you angst or causing you to stumble over and over again?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be free from that angst and stumbling?

I want to encourage you to look at the theme, really look at the way you have allowed this story to be used against yourself. Begin to unpack and explore that theme, allowing yourself to feel the pain of what the unhelpful story has done to you.

Then, search for evidence to the contrary. Begin to meditate regularly on evidence that is helpful, that is contrary to the theme. Do you journal? If so, journal on the helpful evidence.  Make time every day to think these new thoughts, and seek out new evidence to build a new theme. Let the new story reign in your soul.

You can do this! Freedom awaits you as you create a more helpful, live-giving story about yourself!

 

*Not based on any individual. Resemblance to any individual is completely coincidental.

Ansley Schenck