#008 Personal Narrative

What Stories Are You Telling Yourself?

“Understand and challenge your personal narrativeNarratives become choices and actions — which become your life.”
~Bryant H. McGill

What is a personal narrative, and what does it have to do with my teen?

Personal narratives are the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves, others, and our circumstances. 

These narratives are tied to our thoughts and our beliefs, which then influence our feelings and actions.

Our personal narratives as parents are often reflected and copied by our children. 

The stories we tell ourselves, our personal narrative, become our reality because we begin to believe them.

Some of my past personal narratives.

I’m the first to admit that this is an area that I used to struggle with. As a teen I thought that there was something wrong with me. Those thoughts carried over into my adult years until I finally addressed them through coaching and using the model.

  1. I’m not good enough
  2. I’m a trouble maker
  3. I’m not smart enough. 
  4. I’m not cool
  5. I’ve ruined my life
  6. Nobody likes me

Narratives that I’m practicing today.

You CAN change your personal narrative. You don’t have to continue believing the harmful stories from your past.

It isn’t always easy, but it is totally doable. Here’s a few narratives that are helping me right now.

  1. I am good enough
  2. My past troubles were actually preparing me for greatness
  3. I can bounce back from anything
  4. My teen is resilient
  5. He is doing his best
  6. His struggles are preparing him for greatness.

So, where do I start?

Lot’s of parents want to change their teen’s personal narrative. They say, “My teen doesn’t have confidence because he’s constantly telling us that he’s ‘not good enough.'”

His narrative is definitely linked to his confidence, BUT you have to remember that you can only control YOUR NARRATIVE!

You cannot change your teen’s narrative.

You can only have an impact on their narrative by controlling your own personal narrative.

Here’s a good place to start.

  1. Become aware of your personal narrative about yourself
    1. This is the most powerful place to start.
    2. If you have negative narratives about yourself, you are more likely to have narratives about others or even just your circumstances.
  2. Become aware of your personal narrative about your teen.
    1. Start to pay attention to the thoughts that you have about your teen.
    2. How you think about your teen impacts how you treat them.
  3. Explore your teen’s personal narrative through observation and conversation.
    1. Watch your teen. Look for clues as to what their narrative is.
    2. Listen to the things they say about themselves and others.
    3. Have a conversation with them about this.
  4. Become intentional about your personal narrative.
    1. Once you’ve become aware of exactly what your personal narrative sounds like, start the practice of becoming intentional.
    2. Practice over and over.

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