Seeking the author of our own narrative.
Narrative psychology is a perspective within psychology concerned with the storied nature of human conduct. How we deal with experience by observing stories and listening to the stories of others. The stories and the meanings of these stories rather than logical argument. This is how people construct stories to deal with their experiences. Discontentment, is unfortunately, the default story in our consumption driven society. Even though the majority of us are aware of this, the emotional drivers that keep us in this narrative, are extremely powerful. If we interpret the events of our life within this narrative, we will never see ourselves as good enough. This makes it harder for us when we need a more logical perspective within this narrative.
Life is a progression from one event to the next, no matter how trivial those events might be. In any twenty four hour period we can move from heartbreak, to great joy and back again. Even that should be a comfort to us, as we realize that negative feelings can change very quickly. The truth is, very few of us have been taught how to create sustainable happiness, inner prosperity, or problem solving mechanisms. What’s also true, is that the skills to avoid this trap are learnable.
Learning to be the author of our own narrative.
Telling our story, helps us to make sense of our lives. As we begin to examine what’s happened to, and through us. Why it happened and how it happened. This often leads to having more confidence and a better understanding of self. We seek meaning in our life through multiple personal narratives, such as parenthood, love, family, friendship and leisure. It’s within each of these personal narratives that stories are formed. It’s these stories that advertently, or inadvertently change our behavior. Our inner stories can become cycles of rumination, where we can’t look at our own narrative objectively. We are always interpreting and trying to make sense of the world around us, weaving it into our own personal story.
The general rule in a story is, that often people don’t want to change, it takes something to make it happen. Comfort and order is our default position, even if we secretly want something better. Ambition can create fear, but it can also create a better narrative, as we move towards trying to achieve our goals, as a result, life no longer feels so meaningless. Suddenly, there’s a risk in our story and a question inside us, will we make it or not? Now we have a different reason to get out of bed in the morning, we have a new narrative to live for.
Our personal narrative.
Each of us is a constantly unfolding story, a character in a novel that no one else has the ability to write. How we interpret that story is extremely important, if we don’t want to end up feeling lonely, unworthy, unloved and with poor health. Obviously, we want to create a positive self narrative, with internalized good values. Having a goal is one way forward, it can change aspects of our story and rub against less positive stories. But trying to change our internal story, is possibly more important. Allowing ourselves to realize, all the positive aspects within our personal narrative, also having gratitude for the many good things we have. Which often takes a less emotional and more logical mental stance, not a “yeah I know” but more an “Ah ha, I get it” moment.
Without discomfort or an incident, we find it hard to leave our comfort zone and enter into a different story. We need to lose our job, or be forced to make a radical change of some sort. Buy a wedding ring, sell a house, have a child, or be the hero in our own Hollywood movie for a while. If a story doesn’t have negative turns, it’s not an interesting story. We don’t give up when we encounter a setback, because we know, that every good story has both positive and negative turns. If we can’t see that life is truly remarkable and exciting, we can become unwilling victims, rather than grateful participants. The trick is, to become aware that life is precious and exciting. Our lenses may need a little more polishing, as we move into this narrative.
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