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Change Your Story, Change Your Life

self-story, narrative identity, self-concept, Change Your Story, Change Your Life

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to like to reveal the one true goal of all therapy – to change your story, change your life.

First a quick update:  

The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, or pining over your ex? How would you like to benefit from personalized advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report.

How To Overcome Loneliness Now In 4 Steps
Loneliness was an epidemic before the Covid-19 pandemic. Loneliness is different to being or feeling alone. You can be physically alone in a room but not feel lonely. Watch my video  and discover what to do if you were already feeling lonely prior to this crisis

Now, let’s talk about the one true goal of all therapy – to change your story, change your life.

When people ask me what I do, I reply that I help people to change their behavior by setting them free from the past.

What does that actually mean?

It means helping you to change your story; to change the way that you see and perceive yourself and your life – your past, your present, and your future.  

In fact, a new client asked me if I could help him to erase his memory of the betrayal by his narcissistic ex-girlfriend.

“I understand why you say you want to erase your memory John, but that can’t be done, and that’s not really the goal. What you truly want and need is not to erase or block out what happened but rather to change the way you feel about what happened, and to change the meaning of what happened to you. When you release the pain and change the meaning of the event, you set yourself free. You gain power over your life. You gain agency and autonomy.”

In psychology, we refer to your story as your “narrative identity.” This refers to your internalized and evolving life story, the way that you integrated the reconstructed past and imagined future to create some degree of unity, purpose, meaning, and coherence. (McAdams, 2013)

The way that you view your past, and the way that you view your future – be it with opportunities and possibilities or with none at all determines your life story, your sense of self, your narrative identity.

Your narrative identity or the story you created about yourself originates in conversations between you and your parents, as well as the events that occurred, and the way that you interpreted those events. Children learn 4 ways:

1. They watch and copy what they see

2. They listen and believe what they are told, particularly what they are told about themselves and the world around them

3. They make inaccurate interpretations about the events that they experience and the specific things that happened to them based on the mind of a child, egocentricity, and the developing brain of a child

4. They absorb the emotions of either the dominant parent in the household or the parent with whom they most resonated or related.

“That’s the story that you’ve created about your life – about who you are and the world around you, John.”

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi

However, you may not be fully aware of your own story, of your narrative identity. The story, which includes characters, events and plots, and beginnings and endings also includes many subconscious themes and beliefs.

In the case of John who wanted to erase the memory of his narcissistic, unfaithful girlfriend, his story, his narrative identity, which we uncovered, is that he believes he must take care of everyone, no one cares, no one will take care of his needs or wants because his mother never did.

“That’s the work that I do, John: to help to open your eyes to real facts about yourself that you’ve been ignoring, or you’ve been blind to, as well as uncovering those subconscious beliefs that form your story, your narrative identity.”

Reconnecting to yourself

“For you John, the result of your story, isn’t just self-sabotage or unhealthy relationships, it is also a feeling of being disconnected and isolated due to your subconscious belief that no one cares, and that you are ‘not enough’.”

This is a central theme directly tied to emotional and mental well-being: the feeling of being connected, being connected to yourself, to your body, to your senses, to other people, and connected to the world, to nature and various areas of life.

If you suffer from depression, then you also feel disconnected, and you first feel disconnected from yourself.  And this is another reason why so many people suffered during the pandemic – because of the extraordinary disconnection and isolation. Accordingly, to change your story so that you can change your life, you need to make the shift at a subconscious level; shifting from avoiding the emotions to identifying, validating and accepting your emotions and then releasing them; from moving from rejection or denial of various aspects of your life to accepting them, and from harsh self-judgment to self-acceptance and self-compassion.

When you subconsciously see your life story, the players, events, and your old beliefs from a new perspective, you change your story.

When you gain real insights into your personality, your values, your priorities, and even the self-sabotaging or self-destructive behavior, then you have the opportunity to truly change your story and change your life by also reconnecting to yourself, to past values, pleasures and hobbies, at peace with yourself and your past.

How does the changing your story, change your life?

“John, your life story, your story is exactly that. It’s a story. I cannot erase the things that happened, so I cannot change the actual story, I can change the way that you feel and perceive each of those adverse, unfair or traumatic events and characters in your life so then your story about yourself and who you are does actually change and then your life changes because you have a new identity, a new narrative identity. With that new identity, you take new action, you attract new people into your life, you build new connections and relationships, you feel connected to yourself, to others and to the world; you feel like you belong, and you release that old theme of ‘I am not good enough, there is something wrong with me, no one cares, no one loves me.’”

Sometimes we hold onto painful memories and emotions because we believe that is our identity. And perhaps it was for you, but now you can change it. Now you can change your story and change your life. And when you change your story, you also change your brain! If you would like help to change your story and change your life, book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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