We are the stories that we tell ourselves and others. We identify with our stories and internalize those stories in such a way that our reality (as we are experiencing it) is normal and ‘true’.
What we rarely recognize is the consistent pattern of words that we use in telling our stories. Are those words negative, or positive? Are we in integrity towards ourselves, when we tell these stories?
Negative stories are CONTAMINATION stories. To change your story, it must become a story of REDEMPTION.
REDEMPTIVE STORIES are narratives about what you learned from your experiences rather than how you were victimized (contamination stories.)
The following WORKSHEET is a tool to help you to recall, notice, and rewrite your narrative about who you are and what has happened to you in your life.
In the following worksheet, you’ll be asked questions, and will ask yourself questions. Pay attention to how easier it is to respond. Practicing noticing is the art of asking yourself questions like the ones below. Sometimes you can “coach” yourself by asking questions as though someone else is asking them of you.
Making Edits to Your Personal Narrative is not about denying what happened,
it’s about redefining what happened.
Here’s two videos to help you get your “juices” flowing regarding how you communicate to yourself and others.
Notice and then write down the most familiar narrative to you repeat to yourself and others.
In some cases, your mind may draw a blank and you won’t be able to answer a question. Make note of that question and write your experience of that question down. EXAMPLE: “My mind went blank on this one, but I feel anger for some reason.”
Continue to think about the question and allow the answer to arise to the surface. It may be tempting to argue or analyze what is coming up for you. Resist this impulse because the thought that is surfacing in your mind is a gift. Notice it. Write it down. Write down any words that come to mind regarding your thoughts and emotions and give yourself permission not to censor yourself or your emotions.
Notice your patterns of thoughts, perceptions, opinions, emotions, and conclusions that you’ve lived by up to this moment. Just notice.
Rewrite your story and glean the education your experiences have provided. Your identity is not what you experienced it is what you believe about that experience that is shaping each experience that has followed.
What are you choosing to focus on? Be curious about information and be willing to explore your emotions and feelings. Rewrite the narrative so that you can grow.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CURRENT STORY
- What am I telling myself when I look in the mirror?
- How do I describe myself? (My internal voice to myself)
- How do I perceive the challenges that I’ve been through?
- How do I describe myself to someone else?
- I want to change THIS about me …
- Thinking back to my last great challenge, how did I interpret it?
- How did I handle this experience?
- How did it affect me then, and how does it affect me still?
EXTERNALIZE YOUR STORY
- This is what I want to tell others about me…
- Does that feel like a lie or the truth to you? Why?
- Think about integrity towards yourself and your values. What is the most important thing to me? (Remind yourself of what you are working towards – not away from.)
RE-AUTHOR YOUR STORY
- Reflect on your answers to the first question. Notice your words and patterns, your perceptions and thinking. What would you like to change?
- Reframe that narrative by writing something more empowering.
- How can I rewrite this diversity to focus on the good?
- What did I learn? How did I grow? What did I discover about myself?
- What happened?
- What never happened that I was afraid would happen if I changed my narrative (story)? What changed for me?
- How has changing my narrative changed my worldview and empathy towards others who are suffering?
- Remember when there was a time that you felt overwhelmed to the point of giving up? But you didn’t? Why?
- What qualities did I demonstrate to stay on course?
“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”
– Victor Frankl Author of, “Man’s Search for Meaning“ (he was a Holocaust survivor)