I didn’t even know what a narrative was in my 20’s so I think this is an important reminder for all of us.
It’s simply one of the predominant stories of your life you most like to tell that threads itself into other stories that thematically become the through-line of your life. But the sad thing is most of these narratives are based in the past, our conditioning, or come from limitations that are often based in false assumptions (about everything: the world, ourselves, possibility). We make these unhappy stories the main narrative of our life. Why? Because we constantly re-play them in our left brain as they are kept alive by our egos, wanting us to remain stuck, safe and small.
I was with a group of friends this weekend and I discovered that everyone who told their life story got really stuck on the part of their narrative that no longer fit them. And that’s where their narrative seemed to end. I thought to myself, “That’s the end?”
Where I stood, I saw these amazing, powerful, smart, dynamic, successful people who were so much bigger than the smaller stories they told themselves. Those stories that seemed to confirm their unworthiness or distrust or limitations of self.
It’s not wrong to have these parts of our narratives. These parts are what ultimately make your story – your story. But that’s not the only part of your life – that which is hard, or challenging or hasn’t yet happened.
I had an experience recently in regards to a project I’m working on and this woman who’s involved said some things that immediately reconnected me to an old part of my narrative that I thought I had outgrown. But her words triggered me and along with it came my “not good enough” narrative. I had to reach deep down within myself and say, “That’s her story, not mine.”
When we’re challenged in life, when we get rejected, when we feel as if nothing is moving forward and our traditional narratives get triggered, all we can do is face the information that we are given with compassion and love and understanding. But that doesn’t mean that limiting experiences that trigger our own limiting internal stories have to define us any longer. We don’t have to take that on anymore to be our narrative.
As the poet, Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. But just keep going. No feeling is final.”
Indeed as your story unfolds, don’t get stuck on the chapter that you’re currently reading. You always have the ability to simply turn the page. And that’s a new narrative.