“When you understand, that what you’re telling is just a story. It isn’t happening anymore. When you realize the story you’re telling is just words, when you can just crumble up and throw your past in the trashcan, then we’ll figure out who you’re going to be.”- Chuck Palahniuk
Thank you for the amazing response on my earlier post. I couldn’t continue and post for the last 4 days, as I was unwell (more about it in another post)
In my earlier post I gave you a simple technique to become aware of the stories you tell yourself. In today’s post let us rewrite it to create a compelling future using just these three simple steps.
- Ask questions
If we were to check our internal chatter, it’s nothing but a series of questions we ask ourselves, isn’t it?
Why did this happen to me?
Then you get answers like- You’re too young or old for this. You’re not fit for this. You’re not well settled or you don’t look good.
The answers keep coming, isn’t it? So the first step to rewrite your internal chatter is to ask yourself empowering questions. Questions that allow you to think and stretch your comfort zone. These are some questions I asked my daughter
I’m not a good dancer
Event: Not getting selected for the programme
Meaning: I’m not a good dancer
Have you ever got selected in dance programme? Yes
Has anyone told you that you’re a good dancer? Yes
Who? Mumma, daddy, grandparents, teacher, friends, uncle and aunty.
Did you ever win awards for dancing? Yes
Now let me take my example:
I’m an unfit mother
Event: Didn’t take off from work when daughter was ill.
Meaning: I’m an unfit mother
Can you think of instances when you took leave in the past when your daughter was ill? Yes
Was there someone to take care of your child? Yes, and they did a great job of taking care of her.
Were you able to take care of your child, though you didn’t take leave? Yes, I took her to the doctor and was with her for half day.
2. Attach a new meaning
The questions continue here, but I attach a new meaning to it.
So now that there are so many people who have told you that you’re a good dancer, you’re one, isn’t it? Yes
What can you learn from this? That I’ve to practice better next time. I thought the choreography was easy and didn’t practice.
Can you see the shift here, now my daughter instead of playing a victim has realised the real reason behind her not getting selected. She has already started taking corrective measures and is practicing dance every day. This is what happens when you attach a new meaning to what happened.
Continuing with my example
What are some of the things you do for your daughter that makes you think that you’re a good mother? There are many, in fact the list is too big.
Great, then that means you’re a good mother, isn’t it? Yes…but then this feeling doesn’t go away.
What feeling? This feeling of not being good enough.
This feeling of not being good enough, compared to whom? Compared to my mother-in-law. She was a homemaker and was always available for her children when they were sick.
So if somebody stays at home when the child is sick makes them a good mother? Is it really so? Hmmmm…not really. Being a good mother is more than that.
So that means you’re a good mother, isn’t it? YES!!!!!
3. Retell the new story
Once you’ve challenged the story that you’re telling yourself, 90% shift is done. Now retell the new story to yourself in the most assuring and trusting voice.
“I do X, Y and Z things for my daughter that means I’m a good…in fact an awesome mother. These are some things that only I can do for my daughter.”
“My parents, grandparents, friends and dance teacher tell me that I dance beautifully, that means I’m a good dancer.”
Give yourself enough past references which act as an evidence for the new story. Continue to tell this to yourself and you’ll begin to notice that the old story fades away, gradually.
So there you have one more technique to ask the right questions and attach a new meaning to the internal chatter. The next time you find yourself spinning a story, ‘I’m not capable of’ or ‘I’m not worth it’ or ‘I can’t do this’, pause immediately, decode the chatter and ask yourself these questions-
Compared to whom?
Who told you this?
How do you know this?
What specifically tells you/shows you this?
What stops you from doing it?
What would happen if you did/or did not do it?
You will begin to notice that the answers you get now to these questions will lead you to new path, a path filled with new opportunities to empower your life. At the end of the day we all keep telling a story in our head. Mastering the inner game matters. You can read the best self-help book, join the latest life coaching seminars, listen to motivation podcasts, but, mastering your inner game matters a lot.
Life is not what happens to you, but the meaning you attach to it. Your inner narrative shapes your life and your destiny, so make sure you’re writing the best script.
What is story you’re telling yourself? Are these stories empowering or limiting you?
Did you observe people around you? Are they telling some stories? Are those stories limiting them or empowering them? Do share your observations in the comments and let the discussion begin.
Do you need some guidance in rewriting the stories that you’re telling yourself? If you do, then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Love and gratitude,