Rewrite Your Story - bUneke April 2019
My monthly column for April is out in bUneke Magazine.
You can see the post from the article below, or skip to the bottom and read a transcript of it.
Who we are is determined by who we view ourselves to be, how others view us to be and what our experiences are. If this were 100% true we’d be pretty doomed to a life with no control, no ownership and no ability to alter our situation. Well part of that is true, we cant alter reality like bills, loss of relationships, redundancy, homelessness but can have more of an impact on our lives than we have perhaps thought.
Cognitive behavioural therapy deems that if we alter our thoughts and behaviour it’ll change our feelings about events and with it help us with our mental health. However, so much of how we behaviour and think about our lives is affected by how we have already been living, our story so far.
When we are born into this world we are sponges to our surroundings, our treatment from others and our experiences. We make meaning from all these sources and understandably build a picture, based on these, of who and what we are. Working on our thoughts and behaviour to situations can get us further along toward feeling happier and more fulfilled but what if our reactions and thoughts are so wired to our past learnings that we cannot step out of them? How do we move forward?
Stepping out of our past is exactly what we need to do, what we have to do. To decide that those reactions and beliefs were survival at that time, to understand we did this for a reason but it may not serve us any longer, to forgive ourselves for those ways of coping and then to choose if want to continue behaving, thinking and feeling those ways. First though we need to acknowledge what our story has been and then work out how to rewrite it….
Here’s some of my own tips on how…
1) Imagine your life is a movie- what is the main tone- is it sadness? One of suffering and strife? One of rising to achievement? What kind of music would play in the background? These things can tell you a little about the story you are living in and telling yourself.
2) Know that you have the ability to take ownership, empower yourself and DECIDE if you want to continue this way. What might the story be helping you with? What might it be holding you back from?
3) Catch yourself in a feeling, a reaction- when you report events to friends or family, notice how you talk about it. We cannot change what happens to us but we can change what we tell ourselves – could you try on a different story.
4) Give it a go – try on a different story, one where you coped well, managed a situation with ease, you wont feel this way particularly if it’s the opposite to the way you have been thinking about yourself but it is a step toward a rewrite. Just try it for a day, two days and see how it goes. Write it down!! Write down the event with your different narrative and see how it feels!