We have a proclivity to share the narratives in our lives that either bring the most shock and awe, sympathy or makes us look like the hero. These same narratives, however, keep us stuck to the past. They prevent us from moving forward in our lives and creating new narratives that yield better results. The mind is a peculiar thing. Tell a story enough times to yourself and to others, you will eventually find that your decisions are solely based upon the narrative.
What’s interesting about most narratives is that we are usually the protagonist. But when we dig into the real story we find that there are more antagonistic characteristics than we want to be held accountable for. For example, my old narrative was a combination of the shock and awe, sympathy and hero. Here is what I told myself and others for a long time:
- I was a teen mama who was kicked out of the house at 19 years old. I constantly worked my behind off and struggled most of my life because of 2 bad marriages where the men broke my heart. I take care of my kids by myself and that’s why I can’t make ends meet and take a nice vacation with my family. I put myself last and others first. This is my lot in life and it won’t get better.
Ok now here is the truth and the new narrative:
- I got pregnant when I was 19 years old and had my daughter when I was 20 years old. My mama kicked me out the house because I didn’t want to pay rent even though I worked 40 hours or more per week. I was ungrateful at times and angry at the world. My attitude sucked. I’ve had to work a lot in my life but I was also married to man who allowed me to stay home after I gave birth to my son. I played a big part in both of my marriages failing. One failed because I didn’t know how to be a REAL WIFE at the age of 24. The other failed because I was disobedient and didn’t listen to God or sound counsel when they told me to FLEE. I have been irresponsible with my finances at an early age and money flowed through my hands like water from the hose on the side of the house. I put others first because it’s easier to deal with their mess, than to deal with mine. However, this way of living IS NOT my lot in life and God says that I will be the head and not the tail. I have learned to make better decisions based on my new narrative that my financial resources and wealth are directly tied to my gifts.
We learn at a young age to weave, re-enact or re-tell the stories and images that will garner the most support around our issue. The story is then imprinted into our brains and the next thing you know it becomes a part of the DNA that we pass on to our children. And their children. And their children’s children. You ever wonder why you see an entire family generation after generation on public assistance? That’s the family narrative at work proclaiming that this is their lot in life. Are you a apart of a family where everyone works for someone but never for themselves. That’s the narrative that says our dreams, visions and gifts don’t matter. Play it safe and eventually retire.
The ability to change the narrative is very simple. Be upfront about your part of the narrative. Make a conscious decision and effort to choose different. There is not magic potion or profound philosophical advice. Just choose. Short, simple and sweet. Choose.