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What is your narrative about yourself?

I'm an English teacher so I know all about narrative writing and how to teach it to kids. It's an engaging form of writing because, ever since we were little, we love having a story told to us. Narrative gives us the chance to see life through someone else's eyes. But we don't usually think about the narrative that is going on in our heads 24-7. It's basically the story we create for ourselves about ourselves. And if you are like me, that narrative is mostly negative. A meditation teacher at a retreat once dubbed this self-narrative "selfing". When we are not directly engaged in an activity that siphons all our awareness into one task, we go into what my colleague Patrick calls the Default Mode Network and this screensaver in our heads is mostly selfing, not flying toasters (GenX joke).


Try this: When you get a break in your day, have a seat, close your eyes, and just begin to notice how many times you have a thought about yourself. No need to keep track. My guess is that most of your thoughts will be selfing, stories your mind is telling you about yourself. No, please don't feel guilty about this; it is completely human to think about ourselves because we are designed to want to keep living. One of the stories we have deeply engrained in our psyche is that we must always check in on our survival status. What's ironic is the narratives about ourselves, mostly negative in nature, cause ourselves suffering when that is, in fact, what we are trying desperately to avoid.


In your meditation practice, one way to become more aware of your inner-narrative is to just ask yourself "What stories am I telling myself about myself right now?" and "How are these stories affecting me physically? Emotionally?" Lastly, and probably most importantly, ask yourself "Are these stories TRUE?"

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