We all tell ourselves stories to get through the day.
Sometimes we tell ourselves there is a God in heaven who loves us.
Sometimes we tell ourselves that everything happens for a reason.
Sometimes we tell ourselves that we’re not good at physical activity.
In reality, so much of our experience is completely subjective. Everything we experience is filtered through our experiences, biases, and assumptions about the world.
It’s impossible to know what other people are thinking, but we tell ourselves that we know. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, since five people looking at the same scene will have five different experiences.
Your Inner Narrative
Our past stories influence our present experiences. As a child, there were certain things you learned about the world, which continue to inform how you see, understand, and interact with yourself, the people around you, and understand your place in the universe.
All this is not necessarily a bad thing. If your stories help you get through the day, if they give you meaning, or happiness, or a sense of safety, they are serving you. And that’s all that matters.
If they don’t, if the stories you tell yourself are outdated and no longer serve you, even though they most certainly started as a way to make sense of the world and keep you safe, well, the good news is that you can easily change them.
We speak often about the fact that our subconscious mind cannot differentiate between the real and the vividly imagined.
A Better Way
A key exercise we often use during Hypnosis Assisted Healing is reimagining the past. You can take a negative experience or memory and reimagine a positive outcome. You typically don’t end up forgetting the actual “real” experience, but suddenly your body and your mind are able to settle into a new reality. They can essentially discard the old story, and the moral it was teaching them, and adopt a new story, one that serves them better.
I recently took this to the extreme during my own experience of a hypnosis Assisted Healing session (I do them regularly, they are one of my favorite methods of insight and personal growth). I didn’t just re-imagine a specific experience from my past. I imagined myself in a completely different childhood.
Parents have a varying degree of flaws, varying from imperfect to “who let these people have kids?”As part of our hearing journey, we can adapt parental archetypes of ideal parents, an imaginary parent that lives in our mind that gives us what our parents weren’t able to.
Maybe your real life parents were too distracted by life’s burdens to give you the attention you deserved. Maybe they had their own traumas that kept them from giving you as many hugs as you needed.
Your imaginary parents that you create in your mind can begin to fulfill these needs and desires that you deserve to have fulfilled but didn’t. Your mental caregivers can understand you and prioritize you like no one else can.
And so, in my mind, I imagined myself born to a completely different woman. An idealized woman of my own creation, based on strong, nurturing women I had met in real life in my past.
I imagined myself born to her, held by her, raised in her house. I imagined one older sister who treated me well, a great private school, and a sprawling local library. I imagined a network of friends with shared interests, gymnastics classes, and a girlfriend. All things that would have done me a lot of good in my youth.
And you know what? All of this felt really really good.
It felt right.
I wasn’t recalibrating a single experience. I was creating an ideal new reality from scratch. What kind of person would you be if things had gone so much better for you in the past? How much more confidence, self love, and inner peace would you have? You can start creating that ideal past now, from scratch.
After my session was over, I sat down and created an entire one page autobiography, a completely fictional one.
Now, when I wake up in the morning I stay in bed for a few minutes reminiscing over the great childhood I now had. I find the anxious parts in me settle down when they “remember” how good things were. The peaceful origins that preempt the responsibilities and uncertainties of adulthood.
It’s all a story. But we all tell ourselves stories to get through the day.
You might as well make it a good one.