Using Narratives to Change Your Life.
The other day I came across a you tube video of a physicist, criticizing a hover board invention. His claim was that the invention was a hoax. While the invention in of itself was very real, looking at their kick-starter page, I felt their presentation was significantly misleading. Meaning that the hover board itself was only regulated to a special surface, versus the board being able to hover over any surface. Regardless, I also did feel that the physicist was very limiting in his critic of the project, in that it appeared that the overall theme of his critic seemed to suggest that the ambition of making a hover board to hover over any surface was not possible – I could be wrong about this.
This got me thinking about people I know and work with who operate on limiting beliefs, specifically in regards to what they can not do. Conversations geared towards problem solving with such persons can be frustrating, as their overall message is based on how their acquired knowledge and skills have lead to the conclusions of certain impossibilities. While these arguments are usually based on logic, one has to wonder, what happens if we were to focus more on using acquired knowledge and skill sets towards attaining certain possibilities?
I have written about using narratives to change your life before, and it was soundly rejected. I will chalk it up to me making a poor argument and I am now prepared to take another go at it. Let’s say you wanted to lose some unwanted weight, you purchase a scale, purchase a gym membership and consult with a nutritionist.
A protocol is established regarding your exercise regimen and your daily diet, however there lies one fundamental problem, you keep cheating on your diet. Then it stands to reason that you have developed a habitual behavioral response pattern to being triggered for various types of food, specifically types of food that you and your nutritionist have determined to be unhealthy for you.
Using the narratives technique, once you identify what your trigger is for cheating on your agreed upon diet, you construct a narrative where you are successful in overcoming your urge in engaging in poor habitual behaviors. It need not be long winded, and in most cases a simple paragraph would do, such as passing up on the urge to drink sugary drinks. If in real life passing up on the urge to drink sugary drinks like soda seems much for you, then in your narrative you detail what types of feelings, specifically negative feelings you will be forced to deal with if you passed up on a sugary drink during say.. lunch time.
Once the feeling or feelings have been identified then you construct a narrative on how you will go about making peace with these negative feelings without resorting to consuming any sugary drinks or any other substitutive that can alter your consciousness in the same way a sugary drink can. Such a narrative is focused upon the possibilities of overcoming one’s addiction to sugary drinks towards the eventual goal of losing unwanted weight. When people who have a habit of thinking within limitations, approach such a goal, they tend to focus of what’s not working while still engaging in the behavior that continues to produce the unwanted weight for themselves.
My attitude is to take the approach of leaving no stone unturned. Rather than focus on what’s not working, focus on the eventual goal. If the goal in of itself is possible to achieve, then it stands to reason that there lies many paths you can take towards achieving that goal.
Goals are like destinations, no matter where you are in the world, if you pick a destination of choice, there are multiple paths that lead towards that destination, and multiple paths that don’t.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and professional life coach.
“Your core beliefs help shape your reality.”
This morning I came across this post, in which the author gave her social commentary on the ongoing Barneys scandal. In essence what the author states is that when people who are poor spend the little money they have on overpriced products they don’t need, they are being strategic in trying to fit into a society in which they feel rejected by.
I have heard this rationale before, and I get it. However I respectfully disagree with it and here’s why;
However before I begin, I would like to state that I don’t know the true financial situation of the young man and young woman who were harassed and humiliated by the NYPD for shopping in the high end department store.
I would also like to state that when police officers take it upon themselves to pick you off the streets and put you in jail, because you were spotted with an item they believed you could not afford, citizens across the country (regardless of ethnicity) should be concerned.
If you are poor, and you have grown up finding yourself on the receiving end of condescending attitudes from would be snubs, due to beliefs in prestige, supremacy and etc, then it stands to reason that adopting such a belief as yours would only bring you more of the same.
So if I purchase a luxury car, because I believe I would be regarded with prestige when seen with the car, then I am only going to attract people who believe in prestige. The problem with people who believe in prestige is that they have a bad habit of being judgmental and condescending towards those they believe don’t measure up. This means I will be inviting more of the same in my life if I subscribed to core beliefs in prestige and acted out on those beliefs.
Also, I am always going to find myself extra sensitive to how I am being regarded by others and constantly in pursuit of more possessions that signal prestige to others, which keeps me trapped in an unhealthy reality.
On the other hand, if I purchased a car that I found of practical value which also suited my tastes without a care for how others would perceive me, I would find myself attracting people who are non judgmental and open minded. So in spite of the fact that snubs do exist and do judge me from time to time, my true reality would consist of people who accept me unconditionally.
For those who have been tricked into believing that unconditionally acceptance must come at a steep price, my message to them is this; unconditional acceptance is always free.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.