Our past has a purpose, and it was not to torment you. It was to give you opportunities for growth and learning. That being said, we may have experienced some things in the past that made us write a specific narrative (or internal story/mindset) to keep us safe or feel better. For example, maybe you were teased as a child for being your unique (and amazing!) self, so, in order to feel safe you wrote a narrative convincing yourself that you won’t be teased if you follow what everyone else is doing or wearing. You can see how a narrative like this may have helped you feel like you were included as a teen or young adult, but it may not be serving you anymore if you constantly feel out of touch with yourself or if you feel you don’t really align with your friend groups anymore. The process of shifting your past narratives into new ones that serve you for the life you are creating now takes time and consistent effort. However, from my own experience, it is well worth it to shed old mindsets and birth new ones that allow me to cultivate my inner power and align with my true Self that much more.
Recognize when something feels off. Generally when this happens we get a ping in our chest or stomach, we may get a nervous sensation or hear a gentle voice guiding us. This can be in a situation where we are meant to steer clear of something and stand firm in our personal power, or a situation that we are meant to learn from and move through. Either way, it is an opportunity to recognize a narrative, doubt or story you have been telling yourself and use the situation as a tool for rewriting it.
Explore what feels off. Now that you recognize this off-feeling has surfaced, spend some time figuring out why it’s is making you feel this way. You may not have all the time in the world to explore in every situation, but sometimes the answer is so clear it doesn’t take much time at all to figure out why you’re feeling off or misaligned. You can also table it in your mind, to give yourself ample time to explore it when you’re alone. Meditate on it, journal about it, ask yourself thought provoking questions and take time to understand your responses. Put your mind and soul to work, together, to explore every angle. Once you’ve explored all aspects of it, you are presented with a powerful choice.
How can you write a new narrative that better serves you now while also allowing yourself release the old one? This is the start of the long, but beautiful process as it may take you some time to figure out what new narrative you want to write. Some narratives take less time to rewrite and implement, others take a little bit longer. It depends how deep the story was rooted in your mind and how willing you are to live out a new one. Learn to trust the vibes you’re experiencing – trust your gut. Know that the situation has been placed in your life for your benefit and it is okay to say NO to something or someone you’re not feeling aligned with. Your life journey is about becoming your highest self, utilizing lessons and experiences to release what doesn’t serve you and receive that which does. Saying YES to what energizes you and NO to what doesn’t. Your personal narratives can either help you or hurt you, but the amazing things is that you have the power to choose what they do for you – and whether to feed or starve them. Some narratives can be tough to implement emotionally and mentally, even physically, but in the end you are the creator and author, and what you think becomes your reality.
This can be an interesting process to wrap your head around with no example, so let’s use the specific narrative from the intro paragraph above. Say you’re hanging out with friends, a random person just tripped and spilled their drink all over the place, and your friends decide to make fun of them. Pointing, laughing and saying how stupid they are. You suddenly feel this ping in your heart and don’t feel right being next to your friends right now. But why, they’re your friends and you love them. Maybe you remember being teased as a kid and see yourself in that person’s shoes. Feeling doubtful, defeated and rejected for just being you, and that doesn’t sit well with you. You realize that you don’t align with your friends’ actions. You now have an opportunity to rewrite a piece of your narrative that says you need to follow what your friends are doing to not be teased and left out. Maybe you don’t have to follow along and can utilize this moment to let them know you don’t like how they’re acting and it’s hurting your feelings to see them treat another person that way. You’ll feel better for speaking your truth and they may have not ever known you felt that way. Now you can go forward chipping away at this old narrative to fully embrace your inner power, the way you feel most called to.
Use the 7 Whys “Layers” Deep method to find the root story.
In instances you are looking to explore on your own and a situation doesn’t necessarily arise that prompts rewriting on the spot, utilizing this method can be very helpful. I first became aware of this method through Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast. She was talking with her business coach about a time he was asked to really go deep to find out why he was feeling the way he was. You can listen to the episode or read the blog post here. In there her coach, Dean, used it to figure out why he was on the path he chose, but you can use it for any deep inner work that you want to explore. The process is quite simple but very profound answers surface. I’ve created a sheet you can fill out for yourself to uncover your root story or ‘why’ below. Just click the download button (next to the file labeled ‘blank’) and save to your desktop so you can print and manually or digitally fill it out. For illustration purposes, I’ve filled out an example so you can get an idea of what the process looks like. Start by initiating a conversation with yourself that you want to explore more of. Then proceed to ask your first why, which goes next to #1. This probes your first response which goes in the blank line between #1 and #2. Then ask your second why, which goes next to #2. Onto your second response, which goes in the blank line between #2 and #3. Ask your third why, which you guessed it goes next to #3…and fourth response…and so on. Once you’ve asked yourself your seventh why you should have your root story next to the arrows at the bottom. Most times you’ll find your root story, or narrative, doesn’t look much like your conversation starter, this is the point of going 7 layers deep. This is the point where your exploration and rewriting takes place from. How can you approach this root story from a place of love and understanding so as to counter it with something that is more aligned with who you are becoming now?
I personally used this method to figure out why I struggled so much with my own self worth. I uncovered the root story I was telling myself (no surprise… it was from an experience in my childhood) and then explored why I was allowing myself to believe in that narrative. Once I figured that out, I asked myself how I could rewrite the story into something that better serves me, today. In my case, it was learning that I am worthy exactly as I am; that I don’t need external praise, attention, or constant striving to be more, to know that I am worthy of whatever I desire. My new mantra became “I don’t need to be noticed to know this.” Which basically means I can just keep doing me and being me without needing to be praised for it, because I am making an impact regardless, by being my authentic self. A lot of the content and resources I create for you guys actually stems from this new story I wrote because I want to help others with what I struggled to see in the past.
Shifting past narratives to write a new story isn’t for those with weaker will power, but if you’re willing to create a life for yourself that is everything you dreamed and, in the process, step into your inner power, then this is an essential practice. Know that this is not something you do once and you’re done. This is an ongoing practice because old narratives will always arise, asking to be released or worked through. Even the new ones you write and implement this year may be asking to be rewritten in another five, because we as beings are always evolving and growing.