Let’s talk about what you should really know about your self narrative. What exactly is it, and why is it important? To break it down in its simplest form, the self narrative is the way that we speak to ourselves. It may not sound that important, but oh man it is. Your self narrative is everything. If you don’t speak to yourself in a manner that allows you to have confidence and the belief that you can accomplish things, then how is anyone else supposed to? I know, you’re thinking, there’s way more to it than that. And you’re totally right.
What you really should know about your self narrative in regards to accomplishing your goals, is it plays a huge part, and so does failure. The way that we handle failure will often dictate the success we will end up having. Let’s say you set a small goal for yourself. You decide you want to walk the dog for fifteen minutes, three times this week. Then life gets busy and things happen, and you only end up walking the dog once this week. You think to yourself, what the hell? Not only did I let myself down, I let fluffy down and she will never be able to look at me the same. I have shamed myself and fluffy.
Pump the brakes. First of all, fluffy loves you the same amount even if you were to poop your pants in public, so leave fluffy out of this. When we place the guilt that surrounds an action we took (or did not take) onto something or someone else, we are essentially trying to avoid feeling like a failure. When we say, aw man, so and so is going to be so disappointed in me because I didn’t accomplish this, we’re really saying, I’m embarrassed that I failed.
It might feel embarrassing to fail, sure. But what you do after that is the important bit. If you fail at your goal the first go round, what are the first thoughts you have about yourself? Does it sound something like, I suck, what a piece of shit I am, I’ll never be able to do this so what’s the point? That, my friend, is your self narrative. Speaking to ourselves in such a way is never going to be helpful. After you have those kinds of thoughts, how do you feel? Dejected? Worthless? Like giving up?
Using those kinds of thoughts on ourselves doesn’t make us feel more motivated to get the job done. It makes us feel like quitting. If you say to yourself, I’m never going to be able to do this so what’s the point, enough times, then it will indeed become your truth. In turn if you can’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else? Why would anyone support your goals and dreams if you don’t? It all starts with our thoughts, and you don’t need someone else’s permission to have good ones. (read about that here)
A good way to track what your self narrative is, is to write it down. I know, more journaling. Look, it’s one of the best ways to discover things about yourself, and to be accurate and honest in the actions you’re taking. It can be tough to do but the benefits of it are so worth it. Write down your goals for that week. Keep track of whether or not you met your goals each time for the week and how you felt about it (whether you actually met your goal for the day or not). At the end of the week, note if you accomplished your goal, why or why not, and the emotions you have about it.
Even if in the beginning you have nothing but negative self talk, just write down your honest feelings. As time goes on, you will notice that you will begin to correct yourself. It gets really old writing and then reading what a loser you think yourself to be. You wouldn’t dare stand anyone speaking to your best friend that way (I will straight up knee cap someone for speaking to a person I love that way). And you, my lovely, are no different. Do not make me knee cap you for talking to yourself like a jerk.
As your dialogue begins to change, your attitude will change. This will take consistent work and it will not change overnight. Years of negative self talk is like years of gaining weight. Do not expect to have a miracle brain makeover after one week of vigilant positive self talk. No m’am. But do take note as over time, little by little, words of encouragement start to make their way into your self narrative vocabulary. We are building a foundation to set yourself up for success and finding the positives in failure, cause I promise they are there.
Tell me, what does your self narrative look like? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email!