The Narrative Self

If I ask you who you are, your narrative self will answer.

You will identify with it and tell me about your peak experiences and recent experiences.

We have a narrative self in our head that picks and chooses experiences and weaves them into our personal story.

As the years go by, our self aggregates experiences.

It’s easy to identify ourselves with our experiences.

But are we our experiences?

Or more like a vessel within which they occur?

Often, our narrative self tells us what we should do.

Maybe you too have lived under the tyranny of the shoulds at some point in your life.

At other times it steers us towards this or that ideal of happiness, towards this or that image of ourselves.

That’s how we people are, we like to tell ourselves stories.

Do you ever pause to observe your mind?

Do you ever let your thoughts come and go and try not to cling to them?

It’s the opposite of inventing meaning.

It’s not easy.

After you read this, put the screen aside and close your eyes.

Don’t think of anything.

Feel your body from the inside—your breath in your nostrils, your busy heart, your thought factory.

The thought factory seldom stops, thoughts will distract you.

But return to your breathing, return your mind to your body.

Give yourself a break from the narrative self.

Escape your personal story for a minute.

You’ll find that you are you even without your story..

2 thoughts on “The Narrative Self

  1. I love this, Vincent. Especially the part about closing one’s eyes and just ‘being’. I try to do this but as you say, the narrative self is just too powerful.

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