Dying Daily #338: Changing the Narrative

We All Need Maps

People often ask me how I managed to make a change in my life. This isn’t something I thought much about over the years. It just seemed like something that happened. A change like this is frustrating for people who are seeking it themselves because it doesn’t offer a plan. It would have been frustrating for me when I needed to change. Being lost in the woods makes a map seem most valuable.

So, because people started asking, I started thinking about what it was that allowed me to change. I came up with a few different things.

The first thing that had to change was my narrative about myself. It was thinking about this that got me started on narratives last week.

Hidden Narratives

I had a clear narrative about myself, that of being someone who didn’t care, who just wanted to get drunk and high and all that nonsense. I tried hard to seem like this was my real narrative even to myself, because I thought it was cooler than my real narrative about myself. I wasn’t cut out for it though. I cared about people and had a tremendous amount of anxiety and was depressed a lot.

The real narrative I had about myself involved being a loser, of not living up to my potential, of being worthless and unlikable. This belief was the background music of my life. I didn’t even realize it was there, but it set the mood and the tone for everything that happened.

Narratives About Ourselves

Changing this narrative was the most necessary part of changing my life. A loser doesn’t win, someone who doesn’t live up to their potential never does what they are capable of doing. An unlikable person doesn’t get married and get along with co-workers and bosses. If the definition is wrong, you have no chance of using the word correctly. Skewed blueprints will never build a solid house.

Our narratives are our core beliefs. They tell us everything about everything. If they are flawed, everything that emerges from them will be as well.

What is your narrative about yourself, the story you tell you about you?

Is it helpful? Is it oppressive? Is it accurate?

What could you do to change the narrative?

What kind of story would you like to be living in?