I've struggled with negative self-talk for my entire life. I tend to curse myself under my breath and, on a daily basis, tell myself oodles of BS about my own incompetence and lack of value. It's an ugly habit that I've been trying to unwind from for years, particularly when I first started working through Mind Over Mood in 2009. But the negative self-talk persists—when I'm out for a walk, when I try to make sense of my past, when I realize I should have said something else, when I realize I should have been more thoughtful, when I can't figure out why I'm feeling what I'm feeling.
Some might say I need to make a new story for myself, a new narrative. And within the last few months, a couple of my go-to content creators have made a couple lovely bits to reflect just such an idea.
I've written about The School/Book of Life before, but this week's video hit home, not only because of the references to Macbeth, but for its practical advice for new narrative-building.
My favorite part of this episode is:
Not all the disasters were wasted anyway. Maybe we spent a decade not quite knowing what we wanted to do with ourselves professionally. Maybe we went through a succession of failed relationships that left us confused and hurt a lot of people. But these experiences weren’t meaningless because they were necessary to later development and maturity. We needed the career crisis to understand our working identities; we had to fail at love to fathom our hearts. No one gets anywhere important in one go. We can forgive ourselves the horrors of our first drafts.
This "Art of Charm Toolbox" episode focuses on "Narrative Building" as a means to build charisma and a positive self-image.
My favorite part of this episode is summarized here:
Think of your narrative — your hero’s journey, as illustrated by mythologist Joseph Campbell — as a riff on the narratives that brought you where you are today and not a carbon copy of those existing narratives. To know yourself, you need to tell your own story.
So what story to tell though? To be honest, I don't know.
Here are the basics though:
No one wants to read a boring life story, including myself. I don't want to write a self-narrative that bores me to tears.
So what story do I need to narrate?
I recently took this blog offline and made my tweets private because I applied to a fancy-dancy job last month and had an interview for it last Monday. I didn't get the position, but I'm a little relieved. I know how to play it better for next time and I can spend some time building my leadership resume.
I'd got myself all dolled-up—haircut and new shirt and pants—and that was kind-of fun. A little jarring after growing that beard, but I wanted to put my all into it. And now that it's done, I can get back to blogging and make my tweets public again.
However, of course, it makes me also wonder if I'm entirely mis-aiming my life right now. Especially when I listen to interviews like this one:
Like, I finished a leadership degree, but do I really want to lead people? And if I do, do I really want to lead a school? Have I totally chosen the wrong approach to this?
Or, as the cliche might read, am I living my truth, my authentic self?
The truth is, I don't know.
Really, perhaps I'm expecting too much of myself. Perhaps I expect too much of a personal connection to what I do. Perhaps good enough is good enough.
The other day a friend called me an "anxious overachiever."
Perhaps that's my very own personal syndrome, no?
This Spring, I had the opportunity to teach a Creative Writing class at my school. I enjoy teaching writing because students can usually take pride in what they write and they can see their own improvement over time.
I usually try to write a few things myself, based on the prompts I have for the students. Here are three of the little written-in-45-minutes-based-on-a-writing-prompt-things that I wrote this time around.
My life's been a little too chaotic as of late to get routines going, but I've tried to get out and explore a few trails over the last month, places I've heard about but never visited myself. I've tried to start compiling local hikes here when I see people post about them. Here are a couple pictures from recent explorations:
The Internet Archive
YouTube: ephemeral ideas