Have you noticed ever that a person has changed? Biologically I think its takes about 7 years for just about every cell in our body to have renewed itself at least once. However, that necessarily doesn’t change the way we think.
On a personality level this change can happen a lot more quickly. I noticed such profound change in person whom I’ve been close to for several years now. This morning I was able to pinpoint “why” the change has happened, as well as what. It is simply the story that she tells herself is different.
Stories we tell ourselves, also are observable to outside as well. Stories profoundly change the way we act and therefore stories are strong drivers to change the way we repeatedly act (habits).
How does this change happen?
- Automatically and effortlessly most of the time. Human mind is a narrative weaving machine. We are incredibly good at telling stories that are cohesive with our pasts. Most of the time, we accept the narrative that comes by default, meaning naturally in the present moment.
- Spontaneously some of the time: whenever we discuss our experiences with friends, family or collegues for example, we open up ourselves to construct a new narrative. I guess most of the time we do not “buy into it”, in a profound change sense, however sometimes we might buy into it fully or at least partially which then later on becomes integral part of who we are.
- Consciously, if we so choose to do. e. journaling reflecting and reiterating particular experience is possible, if we so wish to do. This work is usually done either alone, or with trusted companions, friend, therapist, loved one or anyone who you feel safe with.
Most of the time the changes to the story we tell ourselves, do not happen so easily. Our story is who we are, therefore there are also defenses that protect our identity, which is a good thing. Only that which is in line with our values and hopefully correct beliefs should be part of us.
Story has the potential to bypass defenses and beliefs (Picture 1). In a same way music does. Pop music with thoughtful lyrics is indeed one of the effective forms of storytelling I’ve observed. There is repetition, a lullaby and the message, it feels good and therefore works for our ancient brains.
Our brains are after all, mostly ancient constructs, our consciousness is just the latest add-on.
When we buy into a story, or a feeling, we buy into a why. Something that feels right and is in line with everything we believe in.