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The Story in Your Head

We are all brought up with a family narrative.

Judi thomases, annie jennings pr, jenningswireIt’s something that’s told to us over and over, or if not told, unspokenly understood.  Many times this family story is idealistic or far from reality.  Members of the family are given attributes; they’re the best; they’re the worst; they’re ideal role models; they’re black sheep, etc.  Our stories are like legends or myths that are passed down (and they may not go far beyond the earlier generation or two), but they are part of our inculcation – in other words, a kind of brainwashing that gives us identity as to who we are, how we fit into a worldview, a society, an ancestry.  In a few cases, a child grows up without such overlay, but for the most part we all have something of this in our heads, and it is rarely acknowledged or understood.

So we go through life believing that we are such-and-such, or that our family members are model so-and-so’s.  A perfect archetype.  Often, the problem is that we are not allowed to question this as children; sometimes even as adults.  We’re not allowed to shake up this world view, or to dismantle it.  What often happens is that the individual within this family – within this narrative – may not be allowed to be their real authentic selves, or may be asked and even forced to stuff down and repress other insights, other reactions, or anything else that tumbles the carefully constructed narrative.  The fairytale.

This results in individuals who are maimed psychologically.

Who are asked to perform lifelong in roles they can’t be, who have feelings of rage or anger that was never allowed to be acknowledged, or who live a life that’s false.  It all makes for some pretty messed up people.

It takes guts to go against the family narrative, to stand your ground, to become healthy, and to be more authentic.  Because otherwise, you’re living with a lot of pain that’s repressed, and you’re medicating yourself and exhibiting indicators of stress, escapism, denial, and uncertainty.  Once you break free, there are going to be people who aren’t too happy with the new path that you set out upon.  They may challenge you; they may reject you; they may call you all kinds of names.  But really what you’re doing is taking control of your path, of your feelings, of your joy.  And you will be a lot happier.  You’ll find the road to self-mastery; you’ll become real.  You’ll see more deeply into the family dynamic, and this will allow forgiveness and compassion.

But it should not prevent authenticity.

So the story of us can be a myth, and bless us with all the positives that are inherent in good myths, but it should not be the determinant of our choices and our next steps.  We should rewrite the script, and lay down a whole new story of our individual self based upon new truths, new realities, new insights, new guidance, new wonderment, and new power.