We tell ourselves stories all the time. It’s a part of every human experience to make up the narrative for the life we lead. We just can’t help it. Stories help us make sense of our lives and the people we know who inhabit them too. We tell stories about our childhood, our family and the things that happened to us.
Experts say that story-telling is actually a vital part of good mental health. Without their defining narrative we would be very fractured human beings indeed, stumbling through life with no meaning or purpose.
Now here’s something very interesting- they can be made up. We can readily create a story to fit what we believe the narrative to be. We add on bits and take bits out depending on how we see ourselves. Stories are fluid and interchangeable. In therapy training there’s a famous saying that goes- “put 20 people in a room, tell them to have a party, then ask each of them about it afterwards…you’ll get 20 completely different answers.” Sooo true!
So stories are vital for filling in the gaps. Especially with childhood. The further you go back, the more unreliable your memory is. There’s no real linear timeline of events that defines your life. Your memories are more like a messy compost heap, thrown together by your brain in no particular order. So stories help to give cohesion to memories. We rely on older family members telling us their version of events, or old photos that were taken at places and in moments that we may have a very hazy recollection of. We have to fill in the gaps to complete the story of our life. But. But…
We also create the story to fit our experience of how we see ourselves. because the story comes out of our own perception, and that will be unique to us. We view life through a lens that is ultimately created by our Own Sweet Selves.
Dr Candace Pert, the award winning chemist and biologist proved this in her ground-breaking research, and was brilliantly written about in “Molecules Of Emotion”. I highly recommend you read her book if you’re interested in any kind of self help. Dr Pert was the first scientist to show how the biology of our story works for (or against!), us.
We perceive the world how we want it to be, to fit our story. Do you see yourself as a victim? You’ll create the story that fits your victim-ness. The line is very blurred when it comes to creating reality. So we’re all busy making it up as we go along!
- Do you see yourself as a”forever fat person”…then you’ll look for evidence of that story, those countless times you gave up on weight loss because you saw that story play out.
- Do you believe you have a “fat gene” in your family? Again, that story will play out for you as you see all the other family members who fit that profile.
- Do you tell yourself that you’ll upset others if you don’t eat everything they give you? Then you’ll assume and imagine the worst when people tell you that “You look great!”
Can you see where these stories are going? How they RULE us? Over, and over again, we will let that narrative influence our opinion of ourselves and our ability to lose weight and get healthy.
The wonderful thing about our stories is the fact that at any moment, once we notice that we’re telling a story that feels negative and destructive- we can change it. In the negative stories that hold back weight loss I wrote about the stories that had been holding me back these last few months in dropping half a stone. As soon as I realised the story lines I was telling myself, I was able to change them for healthier ones that gave me a more positive approach. And guess what? I dropped the pounds, because that was the true story of what I wanted for myself!
It’s honestly really easy to change a story. The only sticky bit is discovering what they are. So if you’re struggling to lose weight, ask yourself a few questions…
- Am I telling myself a negative story about my family history?
- Do I tell myself often that I ‘can’t do this’? I so, what’s the reason you give for not being successful?
- Do you worry about what weight loss might mean for you or your life? If so, what’s that meaning?
- Do you worry about what your weight loss might mean for others in your life? Such as making them feel inferior or jealous?
- Does weight loss have any secondary gains for you? Such as staying invisible, or excused from exercise?
Take some time to think carefully about this, because only YOU know the answers. The questions above are a few of the most popular reasons that we don’t lose weight and ‘hold’ ourselves in the same place. Sometimes it can just be the old story that “change is dangerous” Is that you?
These old stories may have been running through your life for years, directing from behind the scenes where you’re barely aware of their powerful influence on your view of your life, yourself and your dreams! They have been writer and director, with you being the actor in your very own soap opera. Uncovering them is often very interesting, and will help you gain a deeper understanding of your Own Sweet Self along the way. Journaling helps a lot. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, in fact your diary doesn’t even have to make sense from the outside looking in. You can literally just start writing and ask yourself “What are my stories?” Begin right there. Trust me, as you let the words flow, your subconscious will be more than willing to connect with you, in fact she’ll be eager to jump in and answer that question for you. All you need to be is a little curious and open to the answer.
Once you discover what you’ve been telling yourself all these years, the power you’ll generate to change that old tale can be literally life-changing. Not only will your understanding deepen, but you will re-take back your power. Stories can be a prison of our own making that will steal our joy for ever if we never become aware of the programme running in the background. Or we can feel the wonderful liberation that happens when we uncover these old lines and wipe out their influence. You’ll get to be your own writer and director then, the star of the utterly unique soap opera that is you!
Enjoy the discovering, and please let me know in the comments if you get some juicy *A-ha* insights, I’d genuinely love to hear them 🙂