“Almost every life story is a tale of a well-intentioned, flawed, partially blind, self-deceived …But ultimately dignified and good human, struggling against enormous odds. And sometimes, on a good day, succeeding just a little in a few areas.”
Alain de Botton
Without the support from a trusted friend, companion or perhaps professional guidance, so many of us go through life without learning how to make sense of the stories we tell ourselves. It can make our day-to-day a real struggle, especially when our interpretation of the past shapes our response in the present, and our perspective on the future.
So, let’s talk about authorship. Because when it comes to owning your story, what does it really mean to be a ‘narrator’ ?
What we often don’t realise about ourselves, is that we have the ability to decide how we show up in the now, how we learn from the past, and how we grow into the next chapter. With time, self-compassion and the right support, we’re capable of learning how to narrate and examine our life story from many different perspectives… Rather than limiting ourselves to one version of events.
These new perspectives — or re-framed stories — don’t ask us to deny, suppress or downplay what we’ve experienced throughout life… and nor should they! Acceptance and compassion are essential to discover who we are, and where we’ve been. Likewise, it’s important to acknowledge that what we’ve experienced is not our fault, and that our earliest mental programming forms without our conscious control. Life is full of great highs and deep lows, and we’re all doing the best we can in each moment to survive.
But, what these new perspectives can teach us, is that with the support of others — be that a loved one, or a healthcare professional — we can become a compassionate narrator in the way we understand and tell our stories.
Being hard on ourselves might be understandable but it doesn’t have to be our only option. And what’s more, by embracing vulnerability and asking for help (or finding someone to share this vulnerable process), we can start writing our next chapter with a deeper sense of connection and courage.
At the end of the day, we cannot do anything in this world alone. Making sense of our life story and learning to choose a kinder form narration is one of the toughest but most rewarding journeys we will ever go on together.
Rest assured that wherever you’re at in your journey, becoming a kind narrator takes time, collaboration, and small, gentle steps.
If you’re here reading this today, you’re already on your way 💪
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