Controlling Your Own Narrative
Do you feel you are controlling your own narrative? Do you have a front seat to your own life?
We’re all dictated by the narrative in our heads, but you may not realize the influences that shape your story. Not only does your narrative shape who you are–character development, if you will–but it often shapes the course of your life, as well.
Maybe your narrative is an ongoing stream of self-talk, but during times of stress, you recognize the narrative shifts. The cadence of your inner-voice changes, the critical sounds screeching through your subconscious. Or maybe you have a positive inner voice, helping to guide you along with compassion.
Regardless, it’s crucial to be aware of what your narrative is saying. Is it serving you for your highest good, or is it overly critical, limiting you from becoming the best version of yourself?
How can you control your own narrative? We’ll explore that in this post.
Recognize the Narrative That Doesn’t Serve You
It’d be nice to say that we’re the authors of our own stories. While we are the driver of our own lives, there are often others that can influence creating our narrative. Parents, family, friends, the media we consume, experiences, society; it all plays a role. With the myriad of supportive characters helping us along, our narratives can shift. However, if we let them influence us too much, we’re giving them the keys to our most precious asset. Ourself.
Our minds are powerful tools. As we grow, our experiences help mold and shape our personalities. If we’re constantly consuming negative content, including gossip and emotion-driven media, the negative mindset can affect our daily life.
Do you ever wonder why you’re able to recall, in detail, the horrible things that have happened to you, but you can only remember the feelings of the good things? Our brains evolved to support a negativity bias. So, while it’s in your nature to remember the bad, and act accordingly, don’t forget to check in with yourself. Maybe the thing controlling your narrative isn’t as dangerous as you remember.
Be Aware of Your Inner Voice Monologue
Many of us wonder about our inner monologue. It’s the voice in our heads that narrates everything we do, see, and say. If it’s positive, then it helps us feel more confident about ourselves and promotes creative thinking. When it’s negative, it’s harmful to our well-being and leads to anxiety or depression.
The best way to control your own narrative is by paying attention to what your inner monologue says about things that happen in your life. It is also important to acknowledge how those events are interpreted. Consider if you believe those interpretations are accurate or whether you want to change them.
Another way to control your narrative is by writing down the story that you tell yourself and then rewriting it. This can be as simple as making a list of events in chronological order, or it can be more complex—like writing about your life and experiences. You don’t have to publish stories to rewrite your narrative. Sometimes writing it down can help you look at situations and life events from a wider perspective.
Realize You Can Change the Narrative
Narratives can be fluid. As we experience new directions in our lives, our focus shifts. We can change how we view life, including what happened in the past, and rewrite how we want our life to look in the future. We don’t have to let our past define us or rewrite our future.
Reshaping your beliefs and inner dialogue starts by changing your thoughts. For example, studies show that women are less likely to apply for jobs if they don’t meet all the criteria, while their male counterparts will apply anyway, knowing their experience can trump the qualifications. Therefore, you can change your thoughts by altering your actions. Narrow the playing field by readjusting your narrative.
Embrace Your Mistakes as Learning Experiences
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. – Maya Angelou
Mistakes are supposed to happen. We are all human at the end of the day. We can be critical of ourselves because we’re hard-wired to remember and be aware of negative events in order to keep us safe. But we no longer exist in caves, and some of the evolutionary advancements no longer serve us.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You are allowed to make mistakes, especially if you learn and grow from them.
You’re allowed to evaluate your story and adjust.