Checking Your Narratives as You Move Into A New Season
It’s the time of year when people begin gathering thoughts around their lived 2017 experience, and begin focusing on their desired 2018 experience. People assess their growth and accomplishments, as well as major lessons, losses, and disappointments. Reflection is such a useful tool to get us to the next phase in life, however it must be used with care. Reflections can spark inspiration and a sense of pride, as well as blame, regret, anger and a sense of failure. When we don’t know how to healthily praise and critique ourselves, we let our critical voices take charge. Taking our criticism with us into the next year or phase in our lives, literally keeps us involved in the same cycle of self-inflicted abuse that our inner voice subjects us to.
The inner voice we have, may have a couple of sources. Some believe it to be our ego, which I agree with. Its not bad or good, however it’s the aspect of our mind that is most reactive and most expressive. It is governed by pride and fear, and the laws in which it abides, come from narratives that we have collected throughout life. The corrosive, destructible and often critical internal narrative, is a concept I’ve been fascinated with, ever since my life coach brought my own to my attention this year.
It was in July, and at the time, we were discussing if I should proceed in my decision to go on an epic 2-week trip to Peru, and trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in September. I had been experiencing so much indecisiveness because I recently left my job, was living off of savings, and was so worried about the financial commitment to go. This had been a trip I declared a year prior and had already made plans to do, I just didn’t complete the financial commitment. I told her it would be irresponsible of me because what if I didn’t get back on my feet with the plans that I had in my head. In getting to the space of making my decision, my life coach asked me 6 simple words, whose narrative are you listening to?
I had never been asked such a question. She then asked one simple question, what would your 75-year-old self want to say or share about this time in your life? This lead me to realizing that fear of deficit, shame of wanderlust, and lack of responsibility, were not actually authentic self-prescribed narratives. These were narratives I had been fed of by my caregivers. My worry of money, resources, and the thought that traveling during a time of uncertainty would be irresponsible, were actually projected opinions and idiosyncrasies. For me, travel, adventure, and beautiful experiences mattered to me. Living a life with little regret mattered to me, ad even though things may be tight financially because of my decision, I still had more than enough resources to survive.
I made the decision to quiet the voice, put aside those narratives, and move forward on the decision that I would smile at when 75, go to Peru and trek that trail! Let me tell you, that was an amazing and life changing experience that I will forever cherish. Every since that point, I’ve been passionate about helping others be mindful of the narratives they subscribe to and let dictate their joy and decisions. As you think about your intentions, goals, resolutions, and focuses for 2018, I offer you this: BE mindful of the narratives that have held you imprisoned, fearful, full of shame/doubt/hate, and kept you from living your best life.
Ask yourself some of the following questions:
In what circumstances have I felt fear this year? What was I fearful of? Where did the idea of that specific fear come from? Did it come from a previous experience? Did it come from words spoken to me by another? Was it a natural reaction because I was facing the unknown?
What did I give up on or let go of this year? When did I chose to give up? Why did I give up? Where did the framework of my breaking point come from? SI my spirit settled in whatever I released or gave up?
What goal(s) or task(s) did I not complete? Where did the idea of the goal/task come from? Would it change my life or someone else’s life if I decide to complete it? What reason did I give myself to not completing? Where did that reasoning come from?
As you can the exploration of the narrative involves questions as what, when, why, and who? We’re exploring WHAT the issue is. When the issue happened. Why it happened. Lastly, who was the culprit? Meaning, who was the source of the narrative.
These narratives can be useful but sometimes dangerous. Mind your thoughts. Take care of your mind. Release the narratives that belong to others. Go forth in this new year, with refreshed perspective and narratives that you can own, amplify or repair.