What we say to ourselves and how we say it matters. We know this cognitively. But do we really consider it on a regular basis and actually make adjustments?
I was recently visiting one of my favorite body workers, to help me get my legs energetically reattached to my body. This has been a regular need following a severe injury about 25 years ago. My helper pointed out that I might want to “change the narrative” on how I think about this part of my body. I make an effort to not refer to one of my legs as “bad,” but I do find myself regularly pointing out its limits.
My helper offered me the analogy of a child who has experienced trauma. We don’t support that child by criticizing them and focusing on their faults. That just drives the trauma deeper and leads to disconnection. We support a traumatized child by offering them extra love and encouragement. This is so basic, so obvious, but I had never thought about applying it to my own body. I’m placing my attention on the dysfunction. A better thing to do would be to give it extra compassion, give it gratitude for all the ways it has coped with the trauma, and all the ways it has provided wonderful and beautiful opportunities for me all my life.
I know I can’t make trauma residuals just disappear by ignoring or avoiding them. There’s still work to do. But the child analogy really hit home. Nurturing, compassion and encouragement are so much more productive! And, it’s a choice. Now that it’s been brought to my awareness, I can see all kinds of places to apply it.
The Big Ball Project (see my blog post Nov 14) was all about unraveling negative self-talk from my psyche and replacing it with more helpful conversation. (I’m still working on that ball, by the way.)
I’ve had to change my narrative around Holiday sales. They’re really long days. The events are often loosely organized, and sometimes poorly advertised or missing the boat on floor plan optics. Every time I get caught up in those details, I am focusing my energy on negativity. The Universe has other plans for me. It’s not about selling a lot of books or making money. It’s about making quality connections, and that always happens! I have to remind myself that that’s why I get out of bed early every Saturday morning all summer long and go sit in a parking lot, too––not necessarily to sell books, but to make quality connections with people on a similar path. That viewpoint focuses on value and positivity. All it takes is changing the narrative.
Think about it: where could you change the narrative in your life?