We all have a narrative for our lives: the major events that shaped us; the way we felt when they were unfolding; the explanation we gave as to why things are happening this way. Stories create meaning, coherence, and integrity. They make us feel whole and not just as scattered assemblages of random events.
Lest we forget though, these stories are not necessarily the reality. A lot more than simple retelling of events goes into building them – our current perspective, our feeble memories, how others are telling the story, the list can go on for some time.
A brilliant article on TED sheds light on how the way we tell our life stories impacts who we are. Dan McAdams, a psychologist at the Northwestern University, explains what ‘narrative choices’ are and how they shape our present and our future. It is a crucial perspective to maintain, as it reminds us that
“we can edit, revise and interpret the stories we tell about our lives even as we are constrained by the facts”https://ideas.ted.com/the-two-kinds-of-stories-we-tell-about-ourselves/
We are not unbounded in our choices, unless we are writing fiction of course. But we are not bound to one version of our life stories either and making edits to our stories helps us reinvent ourselves. We are if not the sole creators, at least irreplaceable co-creators of our lives. Embrace the power this gives.
My best wishes to a great day ahead!