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Edit Your Story – Be a Better Human

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One of the main reasons for many ills in the world is that several people hold deep-seated beliefs about themselves that are lies. Effective change will only be seen when individuals start to edit their narrative or story.

Live is full of things that humans are not able to control, such as, traffic, the workings of nature, the news, and what other people think and do. However, individuals are able to control their story, their narrative, if nothing else. Now, this story does not include the facts of life that can be seen or felt, such as chosen careers and governmental decisions. Rather, it is how you see and what you tell yourself about how things usually play out in your life and about who you are. The issue with this story that you can control, is that more often than not, it is not accurate. It needs editing.

When persons hold on to past experiences that were particularly difficult, they delete other important scenes, such as the many times when things went pleasantly well. Usually, this leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. An American Psychologist discovered the phenomenon of self-fulfilling prophecy from as far back as 1928. He stated that ‘if men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.’ That is, they live their lives to consciously or unconsciously ‘prove’ what they believe they already know; their behaviours are aligned to fulfill that belief. It is important to note that this prophecy is relevant in negative as well as positive outcomes. Another psychologist later stated that ‘a belief or expectation, correct or incorrect, could bring about a desired or expected outcome.’

This is often seen in experiences involving sexual abuse, especially as a child. The individual tells himself or herself that their only worth is to be used as a sex object. This results in promiscuous behaviours and of course, the negative consequences of that. I lived this phenomenon at one point in my life, and it was not in a positive way. I got used to being overlooked for job positions after being interviewed, so whenever I saw an advertisement for a job that had higher status and salary, I would simply ignore it, even though I believed I was qualified for it. I believed that I was not deserving of being promoted. As you can imagine, nothing good came of my behaviour (ignoring the job advertisements and not looking for other jobs) and the prevailing thought that I will suffer in poverty and lack for the rest of my life.

The good news is there are ways to revise your narrative by applying these tips below.

  1. Find where your story deviates from reality. For instance, it has been found that a lot of people whose parents separated when they were young may have a false truth about the situation. They hold on to the belief that if they were not able to keep their parents together, they will not be able to be effective at anything in life, such as work or relationships. This leaves them with a feeling of insecurity. Now, it is not easy to identify the point of deviation, but keep in mind that the false narrative tends to be the thought or belief that individuals go to when faced with disappointments or difficulties. You can also identify the false story by paying attention to statements that start with ‘I never…’, ‘I will never…’, ‘I always…’, I will always…’ When you find where in the story needs fixing, think back to past experiences that have helped to encourage the negative beliefs about yourself. Choose the one that is most impactful on your life, and start the reworking from there.
  1. Another thing to do is to question the beliefs. If you find that you have a deep-seated belief that you will never do or be enough no matter what you do, ask yourself if this is true. When you do this, you may realize that when you were younger or at some time in your past, persons were never satisfied with your best efforts, even when you thought your achievements were excellent or satisfying. Even if you had believed that you were not enough at that time in your past, you should question whether that is the case in your current situations. Oftentimes, when it is viewed from an adult or growth perspective, you will see that you are not being just or fair to yourself. Accept that the wrong conclusion or negative belief was formed when you were not aware of the difference between unhealthy and healthy reactions to things that scare you.
  1. To rewrite your story, it is important that you introduce positives into the scenes. Make a conscious effort to identify your talents, gifts, and strengths and learn to appreciate them. If you find that the situations behind the false story resulted in you becoming more resilient, ambitious, empathetic, and resourceful, then you should write these into your edited story. If on the other hand, you find that your past privileged way of life made you into someone who is selfish, believing that you are above others, and should always get what you want no matter what, then take out the parts of the old story that no longer serve you. That is, cut out the negative thought of selfishness and false security and accept that it is safe to move on.

It is normal to feel a sense of discouragement and disappointment when you find out how long you have been holding on to a false story. However, do not beat up yourself. Instead, be compassionate with yourself because you are not alone. Each person who held on to false truth about himself has what he believes are ‘understandable reasons.’ Trust me, if I did not make a conscious effort to rewrite my story, after recognizing where my false story originated from, and where and how it needed fixing, I would not be doing the things I truly love to do today; one of which is to write motivational articles like this one. So, embrace and capitalize on the power that you have to rewrite your story to have a more positive and satisfying future.

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