Personal Growth

Growth Strategy #17: Life Story Review

Personal Growth

Growth Strategy #17: Life Story Review

Personal Growth

Growth Strategy #17: Life Story Review

12 Oct 2023

As a coach, I have had the privilege of working with numerous individuals who have experienced profound transformations by rewriting their life stories. The stories we tell ourselves are the narratives we construct about who we are, based on our experiences, beliefs, and interpretations. These stories influence our thoughts, emotions, and actions, ultimately shaping the trajectory of our lives.

I personally used this strategy to change how I perceived myself, after experiencing racism in primary school. This enabled me to take control and consciously direct my narrative, and let go of limiting beliefs.

Good for: Reviewing the impact of our life stories to change our internal narrative.

Best used by: You; a trained practitioner

Rewriting the part of my story relating to experiencing racism in primary school is a journey that I deeply cherish. It was in that very place that I think I first became aware of people disliking others simply because of the colour of their skin. Those experiences impacted me on multiple levels, shaking my self-esteem, distorting my perception of how I should behave, and causing me to question my worth because of how I was treated.

I was the only black dark-skinned child in my year group and out of hundreds of children in the school, one of around 7 in total. I was called names, ignored and shunned by teachers, children refused to play with me, I didn't get invites to birthdays and so much more.

One experience that stuck with me was when a teacher played a video during a lesson with other children in it. I can't remember what the topic was, but I do remember sitting there praying they did not show a black child, as I knew what the response would be from others. And I was correct, when the only black child came on the screen, everyone laughed and most turned and looked at me.

Through my growth journey and years of supporting others, I had the power to rewrite that narrative. I am no longer defined by the hurtful actions and beliefs of others. Instead, I choose to empower myself by embracing my unique identity, celebrating the strength that comes from resilience, and becoming an advocate for all forms of equality and inclusivity.

The cons that could be associated with the strategy are that it...

  • requires honest self-reflection and a willingness to challenge deeply ingrained beliefs.

  • may initially feel uncomfortable as you step outside your comfort zone.

  • can be challenging to let go of familiar narratives, even if they no longer serve you.

  • may evoke emotions and past experiences that need to be addressed and healed.

  • may be difficult to live a new narrative if you are in the same environment and with the same people.

Embarking on the journey of rewriting your life story requires dedication, self-reflection, and a commitment to personal growth. It's important to surround yourself with positive influences and to engage with individuals who can support you, such as a therapist, mentor, coach, or a like-minded community.

Here is a checklist to help guide you through the process:

Self-Reflection and Awareness:

  • Set aside regular moments of solitude to reflect on your life, experiences, and the narratives that have shaped your beliefs and actions.

  • Identify limiting beliefs by paying attention to the negative self-talk and beliefs that hold you back.

  • Challenge negative narratives and question the validity of your limiting beliefs. Look for evidence that supports alternative and more empowering ones.

Define Your Desired Narrative:

  • Envision your ideal story and imagine the life you want to live and the person you desire to be.

  • Identify empowering beliefs and list positive affirmations and beliefs that support your growth and align with your desired narrative. For example, "I am capable of overcoming challenges and achieving my goals."

  • Write down your new story, incorporating the empowering beliefs and aspirations that reflect your desired future. Use descriptive language and evoke positive emotions.

Embrace Growth and Learn from the Past:

  • Embrace a growth mindset to cultivate the belief that challenges in life, setbacks and failures are opportunities for learning and improvement.

  • Reflect on past experiences to identify key turning points, challenges, and lessons learned from your past. Recognize how these experiences have shaped your current narrative and what you can learn from them.

  • Rewrite interpretations of past events and find alternative, empowering perspectives. Focus on the lessons learned and how they have contributed to your growth.

Remember, rewriting your life story is an ongoing process that requires patience, persistence, and self-compassion. Use this checklist as a guide and adapt it to your unique needs and circumstances. Embrace the power within you to shape your narrative and create a life that reflects your true potential.

Here are some sentence starters to help you explore and articulate your thoughts as you embark on rewriting your life story:

  • When I think back on my life, one significant event that stands out to me is...

  • One valuable lesson I learned from a challenging experience in my past is...

  • One empowering belief I want to embrace is...

  • When I reframe my narrative, I realise that...

Overall, I believe this is a good strategy that helps us to examine our lives, taking the 'good' and 'bad', empowering us to consciously choose the narrative and the impact it has on our lives moving forward.

Thank you for reading.


PS. Check out Reevew, the Personal Growth toolkit, dedicated to helping you master yourself, by answering thought-provoking questions to know and grow yourself.

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