All of us will experience our share of challenges, disappointments, and hardships as we go through our lives. We may go through things that are quite traumatic. Our ability to recover and transcend these things depends a lot on how we tell the story of our lives. In this episode, we’re exploring the power of narrative psychology and how we can each use it to cultivate more resilience.
- Life involves ups and downs, challenges and successes. The goal isn’t to eliminate those and live a flat life.
- Being able to tell your story in different ways is not about lying or obfuscating the truth. It is just framing the same information with a different lens.
- The way we talk about ourselves and the events in our lives has a big effect on how we react, recover and overcome life’s challenges. It also has a direct impact on whether we will or won’t reach our goals.
- It may make your life seem more exciting, more virtuous, more meaningful, or more dramatic to frame it as such, but your life is not a novel – and you are likely the only one reading it.
Lab Experiment (download a copy)
- Identify an area of your life where you feel some frustration or disappointment in your progress or prospects.
- Write the story of how you got here. What are the challenges, the circumstances, the things that got in your way. What has gone wrong? Really lean into the ways in which you got a bum deal and are forced to deal with it.
- Now, rewrite your story, without changing any of the factual details, but see if you can find a way to cast yourself as the hero: Resilient, resourceful, doing the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt and managing to do pretty actually well, actually. Look for the triumphs.
- Read both stories. Is one more true than the other? Is there anything to be gained by sticking with version A?