The Story

Dear Pogue

Know this. We all have a narrative that we tell ourselves. We elaborate on that narrative at times, and occasionally we will take from it, dependant on our situation, mood or needs. That narrative will determine how we live our life, how we deal with people and situations. But more than this it will be instrumental in the forming of our beliefs about ourselves, both positive and negative.

The story you tell yourself about yourself will either lift you up or tear you down.

Monique Honberg

Here’s an example to help you understand what I’m saying.

A couple of years back I visited New York for the first time. As the plane descended to land I found myself becoming concerned and apprehensive. Conscious of my change of mood I sat back and began to observe myself. Why was I becoming anxious? Several minutes of silence passed before I came to understand that I was playing a narrative through my thoughts. You see I watch TV crime dramas and, if you do the same, you’ll know a lot of these are based in New York. You can see where this is going? Basically all I knew of New York was based around these dramas and news channels which, forgive me, are seldom uplifting. I had a story that I regularly added to and enforced and now it was playing out in my head.

Get the idea?

Let go of the old stories you tell yourself in order to make way for the new ones.

Tamera Levittown

Everything beings with a thought. If we’ve prepared the script for those thoughts we have set the stage on which we’ll play out the scenes of our lives. Once you realise the power of the story you are telling yourself concerning your own life you begin to realise how responsible you are for what happens. There is a very real place for taking a step back from yourself and becoming the observer of yourself. You can actually do that, you can look at your thoughts (don’t worry about your actions because every actions is preceded by a thought). Read your script impartially and try to understand it as an unattached observer. Don’t defend your thoughts. Don’t let judgement enter the arena. Just accept them as they are. Read the script. Read it several times. Understand and extrapolate from it the probable and the possible out workings of your thoughts when they evolve into actions.

You like them? They are uplifting and edifying? That’s great. Come back to yourself and move on.

However, if they are not uplifting, you, as the observer separated from your emotions, your history, your education, whatever, can change the script.

Now that may be easier said than done. Unlike a physical text you wrote you may not be able to simply delete a word, a sentence, a paragraph and pen an alternative. Or, you may. Flying into New York I changed things by seeking out an alternative. Uplifting things I knew about the city. Places I would visit. You see, my New York narrative was not a deeply written story, not a Tolstoy or a Lawrence. More a comic book.

But it’s not always that easy. Sometimes we have written something over and over. Written it from numerous perspectives. Revised it, read from it, practiced and performed it. It’s memorised with in built responses. Now, that one is a different book. May be like a well written novel that takes more effort to achieve, greater concentration to read, speaks more profoundly to our imagination drawing us further and further into the plot as it invites not only our minds to engage but also our emotions. It speaks to our past on occasions offering a defining of our experience or even a rereading in the light of the plot it offers.

The cry we hear deep in our hearts, comes from the wounded child within. Healing this inner child’s pain is the key to transforming anger, sadness and fear.

Thich Nhat Hanh

If our story has been written and over written, read and reread, it’s not going to be easy to alter. I would suggest a massive rewrite might just be too much and fill us with trauma. Rather a light edit to start, not altering the main plot but, perhaps some of the subplots? Working around the edges. Small steps. Then, work inwards from there. Deal with the bits we can now. Then, having rewritten these parts read them over and over. Let them become grounded. Read them as part of the larger narrative when comfortable to do so. And, the story can begin to change.

When comfortable edit again.

You know how affirmations work? A positive thing we tell ourselves over and over until it permeates our being and begins to manifest in our lives. I guess this is a similar principle..

Yours, being my own editor,


3 thoughts on “The Story

  1. I like the simple principle – telling yourself over and over till it’s true. I know how misleading thoughts can be having gone through that a number of times. Your New York story reminded me of the situation where your thoughts are so much worse than the reality and keep you from engaging. I’m glad you were able to switch the thinking and see the positive bit of your trip. I agree with taking the time to step out and examine everything. Nice Post.


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