Re-telling our Life Stories

Human beings are great storytellers. We tell stories about others’ lives but also about our own life. It is how we create meaning out of the disparate events that we experience.

But to what extent are the stories we tell about ourselves accurate, and do they serve us well?

From a mindfulness perspective, our self-stories shape how we see ourselves in the present. In other words, past experiences leave their mark on us.

Whilst this may be helpful to a point, we may find on further examination (through meditation, for example) that some of our stories may not be so conducive to our well-being.

Firstly, they may keep us stuck in a particular view of who we are, and what we are capable of. How many times have you heard yourself say, ‘I’m no good at this”, or “I’ll never be able to do that”. In this way, our past experience determines what we might or might not become.

What is more, we may also find that our self-stories are not as accurate as we thought they were. Yet, despite this, we cling to them believing that they form an important part of our identity.

Through meditation practice we can begin to identify these old narratives, acknowledge them for what they are, - just stories we have told ourselves, often over many years. In other words, we get tired of telling ourselves the same old stories about our past that we naturally learn to let go of them.

We also begin to recognise that we can re-interpret our stories in ways that are more helpful. For example, by transforming a victim narrative into a hero’s journey. This also open up the possibility that our future need not be determined by our past, and that we are capable of writing more helpful stories about who we are and what we might become.

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