Here we are! The fifth, and final post in my "Laying the Foundation" series. In
Ordinary Heroes, author Scott Turow wrote:
“Who are we but the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, and believe?
At first, I felt that concept of "Letting Go of the Stories You Tell Yourself" was as esoteric as the concept of “Creating Your Own Reality.” But in time, it began to resonate with me on a deeper level once I was able to tie it into how it was part of how we are biologically wired as human beings.
What Does "The Stories We Tell Ourselves" Mean?
The idea of “The Stories We Tell Ourselves” refers to the inner narrative that we create and live by. This narrative is based on our beliefs, values, and experiences, and it can shape how we view the world and how we interpret events.
Our stories can provide a sense of continuity and meaning in our lives, but they can also limit us if they become too rigid or narrow. It is important to be aware of the stories we tell ourselves and to be open to changing and adapting them as needed.
Where Does the Concept “The Stories We Tell Ourselves” Come From?
In mainstream wellness or spiritual communities, the concept refers to the idea that our thoughts and beliefs can manifest in our lives. By understanding the stories we tell ourselves and actively working to create new, empowering stories, we can manifest the life we want to live. Many people believe that by actively working to create a positive narrative, we can manifest positive changes in our lives.
The concept of “The Stories We Tell Ourselves” is rooted in the psychology of narrative therapy, it was developed in the 1980s by psychotherapist Michael White and narrative theorist David Epston, and it has continued to be expanded upon in the years since. Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona of the Coyote Institute, also pioneered the use of narrative therapy amongst Native American tribes when working with mental illness.
The Impact of Storytelling on Our Lives
Stories have been a part of human life since the beginning of time. We use stories to shape our reality, to pass down knowledge, and to explain the world around us. Stories can be used to illustrate our beliefs, to share our values, and to capture history. We use stories to make sense of our lives, to explore new ideas, and to build relationships.
Stories can have a powerful effect on our subconscious. They can help us to make sense of complex situations, to understand our emotions, and to make sense of the world.
From fairy tales to epics, stories can be used to teach us valuable lessons about the world. We can use stories to explore our own beliefs and to examine the beliefs of others.
Stories can also be used to create a sense of community. We can use stories to connect with one another, to build understanding, and to create shared experiences. Stories can be used to bring people together, to inspire action, and to make a positive impact on the world.
Narrative Psychology and Our Minds
Narrative psychology is the study of how stories shape our lives and our minds. It looks at how stories influence our beliefs, our behaviors, and our emotions. It examines how stories can help us to make sense of our lives, to process our experiences, and to understand the world around us.
It explores how stories can help us to make sense of our lives, to process our experiences, and to understand the world around us. It also examines how stories can be used to shape our beliefs, influence our behavior, and create shared experiences. It also looks at how stories can help us to gain insight into our thoughts and feelings, and make sense of our emotions.
What Are We But Our Stories?
Our stories shape the people we become, and they influence the way we live our lives. We all have our stories and “narratives” to help us explain our lives and why things happen to us. We’re hard-wired to find patterns in everything, even when there aren’t any real patterns there.
Our stories tie these patterns together cohesively, regardless of accuracy or the unrelated nature of various experiences. We all have our stories and “narratives” to help us explain our lives and why things happen to us.
Our brains create stories by piecing together bits of information that we have experienced or heard and combining them into a coherent narrative. We often use our memories, imagination, and emotions to create stories that make sense of the world around us. We also use language to describe and explain our stories, which helps us better understand our experiences.
Our brains use various types of neural pathways to form connections between different ideas, pieces of information, and even emotions. It allows our brains to create stories that we use in order to make sense of the world around us. By constructing stories, our brains are able to more easily comprehend and process the complexities of life.
We Can’t Live Without Our Stories
If our brains weren't able to create stories, it would be much more difficult to make sense of the world around us. We wouldn't be able to understand our experiences and would be unable to cope with difficult situations. We would also be unable to communicate our ideas and experiences to others, as stories are a powerful tool for expressing our thoughts and feelings.
And over time, the inability to create stories could cause psychological harm. Without stories, it would be difficult to make sense of our experiences and understand the complexities of life. This could lead to a sense of confusion and disorientation, as well as a feeling of isolation and alienation. It could also lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. If we didn’t have the ability to create stories, we couldn’t function as human beings.
Using Mindfulness to Transform Our Narratives
Did you know that mindfulness plays a critical role in helping your mind learn how to shed old stories, and create new ones? Visualization, affirmations, meditation, and journaling all help us transform our narratives.
- We can use affirmations to create a new vision for our lives, to take action toward our dreams, and to bring them into our reality.
- We can use visualization to explore our inner wisdom, gain insight into our true nature, and align with our highest potential.
- We can also use meditation to explore our stories. We can use meditation to explore our beliefs, make sense of our experiences, and understand our lives. We can use meditation to explore our emotions, process our experiences, and make sense of our emotions.
- We can also use journaling to explore our stories. We can use journaling to explore our thoughts and feelings, gain insight into our emotions, and make sense of our lives.
David Epston believed that by engaging in dialogue and reflective practices, people could begin to understand the stories they tell themselves and the meanings they make of their lives.
He believed that visualization, meditation and mindfulness could help people to identify and challenge any limiting beliefs or stories they have created, and to create new, empowering stories for themselves.
Reimagining Our Lives and Our Stories
We are wonderfully creative beings. We have the ability to change our story at any time. Storytelling can be used to reimagine our lives. We can use stories to explore our beliefs, make sense of our experiences, and understand our lives.
We can use stories to create a new vision for our lives, to take action toward our dreams, and to bring them into our reality. We can use stories to explore our inner wisdom, gain insight into our true nature, and align with our highest self.
We can also use stories to understand our relationships and create a deeper connection with one another. We can even use stories to create a shared vision, build understanding, and create a sense of community.
And you know what? We can also use stories to reimagine and change our stories.
Activity: Changing the Stories You Tell Yourself
What we tell ourselves is what we believe. Our story affects what we do, where we go, and how we approach life. We often limit ourselves by deciding we can’t do something before we even try. Part of addressing imbalance is finding the story of possibility, of potential, in the experience.
So in order to change your story, or stories, sit down with a pen and journal, and ask yourself these questions (originally created by David Epston):
- Who am I without the story?
- What stories do I tell myself that are no longer serving me?
- What new stories can I create to live a more fulfilling life?
- How can I create more space in my life for possibility and change?
- What do I need to let go of in order to create a new story?
- What do I need to do to make my story come alive?
By asking ourselves these questions, we allow our own self-awareness and inner exploration to lead us deeper, and connect with parts of ourselves that we haven’t often spoken with in awhile. In this space, and in the dialogue, we lay the foundation for a new story to emerge. One that is more in alignment with our being.
What’s The New Story You’re Going to Tell Yourself?
In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown wrote, “without intentional intercession, self-protective narratives become self-defeating realities.” I invite you to ask yourself another set of questions:
- How are you going to put down stories that distort who you are?
- How are you going to use your stories to shape the world you see and how you act in it?
You can’t change your brain’s desire to create stories. But you can choose which ones it believes.