12 TIPS How To Change The Story You Tell Yourself (2021)

8 min read

Are you looking to escape from an unhappy life and begin leading an incredibly fulfilling one? A great daily exercise for achieving this is to change the story you tell yourself.

A key part of my role as a life coach is to help people perceive their lives from a better perspective.

Indeed, if you can learn to create a new and improved story about the life you’ve lived so far, it can go a long way to helping you improve the rest of your time on this planet.

Below, you’ll find 12 tips to help you change your story, feel better about your past and encourage yourself to live a more fulfilling future.

Let’s dive right into it.

Change The Story You Tell Yourself
Photo by Elisa Ph. on Unsplash

1. The Power Of The Stories You Tell Yourself

It’s important to be aware of the power of the stories we’re telling ourselves. These stories manifest our reality.

As Gandhi once said: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” 

Here is a hypothetical example:

Ben and Ryan are identical twins. 

Ben tells himself a story that he’s incredibly handsome and talented and deserves to date beautiful women. When he sees a beautiful woman at a party, he won’t hesitate to talk to her with full charisma and charm. He’ll ask her out, with full confidence that she’ll say yes. And she usually will, because charisma and self-confidence is incredibly attractive. 

Ryan tells himself a story that he’s unattractive. When he sees a woman at a party, it maybe doesn’t even enter his mind to talk to her, because he doesn’t consider there’s a chance she’ll like him. If he does find the courage to introduce himself, he’s hesitant and nervous about being rejected. These nerves make women less likely to warm to him.

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In this story, the twins are both born with the same opportunity. The only difference between their success in the dating world is the stories they tell themselves.

There are plenty of real-life stories out there if you want to find them.

Here’s one. Why did Pablo Picasso become one of the world’s most famous artists, while his son Paulo decided to live as a relative nobody? 

Another example? Why did Venus and Serena Williams become two of the world’s most successful tennis players, while their half-sister Yetunde only aspired to be their personal assistant? 

Yes, there are many variables at play, but a huge one is that successful people believe they can do it. So, they actually walk the path and keep walking when it gets tough.

The reason that celebrities and billionaires become so successful is because one day they decided they could do it. Or at least that they had to try and succeed no matter what. This was the story they told themselves. Their beliefs became their thoughts, words, actions and habits, values and destiny.  

2. Others’ Stories Become Our Own

So, how do two people – even family members growing up in the same household – end up with  completely different stories about themselves?

The main reason is that – as children especially – we are incredibly susceptible to believing other people’s stories about us. 

We barely knew a thing about the world in our early years. So, we soak up other people’s stories like a sponge. We are like plasticine being moulded by parents, teachers and other significant figures in our life.

If our parents raise us to believe we are worthless and incapable of achieving anything, that becomes our story and we grow up with low self-esteem. If they say the world is dangerous and people are untrustworthy, that becomes our story. If they tell us we are smart, kind, beautiful and can achieve anything we want, these are great parents who will surely raise successful kids!   

It is very difficult to reframe the stories we are told as children. That’s why so many people hire life coaches or therapists to assist with this. These professionals can help you dive into your past and see how it shaped you as a person, as well as helping you develop narratives so you can turn things around. 

A great start is being aware that the bad stories you tell yourself were originally told to you by someone else. Once you’ve realized that, you’ll hopefully realize you have the abilty to control your self-narrative. 

3. Tell Yourself A Different Story 

Gandhi’s quote encourages people to change their beliefs, thoughts and words. This will help you change your actions, habits and values. 

Many successful people believe in this strategy. That’s why you’ll see so many of them recommending affirmations, mood boards, the law of attraction, future-self journaling, meditations and more. They manifest the life they want by focusing on what they want. 

I’d recommend all of these practices to help you start telling yourself a different story.  

4. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Even in adulthood, you better believe other people are trying to contribute to the story you tell yourself about the world and your place in it.

And you have to be strong to resist the voices of your friends and family. You are at the mercy of your environment. 

That’s why Jim Rohn said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

With this in mind, you’re best off surrounding yourself with positive people who support you and have enthusiasm for life. 

Create a new and improved environment with enthusiastic successful people who believe in themselves, and their energy will rub off on you.   

5. Absorb Life-Changing Stories

That famous Jim Rohn quote only appears to cover people who you physically spend time with.

However, we can also be influenced by the voices we hear or read in the media too. So, it’s worth taking care of what media we consume. 

How about you read the autobiographies of successful people you admire? Most likely, you’ll discover that they had struggles they had to overcome, just as you do. If they can do it, why not you? 

This certainly would appear to be a better plan for telling yourself more positive stories than consuming mainstream news, which mostly only tends to spread fear and negativity.

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6. You Decide The Meaning Of Life 

One of the truly mind-boggling things about life is that no-one truly knows what we’re supposed to do with it. The meaning of life is down to our personal interpretation.

But most of us are too scared to make that decision. Instead, we seek the answers from someone else. 

There are plenty of people out there ready to preach that everyone should follow a certain path in life, whether that’s our parents, religious fanatics, cult leaders or protestors with loud-speakers in the street.

But when we let other people decide what is the right and wrong journey, they essentially become the narrator for our story. 

Let’s use an example of a 50-year-old female entrepreneur who manages to create a seven-figure business from scratch, but never had children. 

Under some people’s narratives, she’s a roaring success and can die happy. But what about the people whose narrative says that a woman’s role in society is to be a mother. 

If she listens to this narrative, she could live the rest of her life in misery – either because she had children instead of launching her dream business, or because she followed her dreams but is still influenced by others telilng her the best way to live her life. 

There is no one CORRECT way to live your life. Once you realize this it becomes easier to alter your story to suit what you want to do.  

7. Challenge The Voice That Says You Can’t Do It

Surely we’ve all heard that negative inner voice that says we’re incapable of doing something.

It’s fine to hear that voice. 

But, how about you try and prove it wrong, rather than believing it with zero evidence that it’s right?

Challenge your limiting beliefs. You’ll probably surprise yourself.  

As Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” 

8. Quieten Your Inner Voice

There is plenty you can do to quieten or ignore the negative voices in your head.

How about the ‘5 Second Rule’, where you count backwards from five and act before you reach zero? By following this rule, you’re taking action before you let fear talk you out of it.

I like the idea of being so proactive and driven that you don’t have time to listen to any thoughts that are holding you back.

On top of that, meditation is a great practice to help you separate themselves from negative thoughts. Avid meditators may still hear these thoughts, but they are wise enough to notice these thoughts aren’t part of them. They can control whether to embrace them or let them go.     

9. Remember your story hasn’t ended 

Here’s something to remember. All the best stories have ups and downs. The hero nearly always has some sort of obstacle to overcome, otherwise it would be one hell of a dull story, where nothing really happens.

If you’re still alive to read this article, your story hasn’t ended. 

Maybe you’re in a low period now, but that’s necessary for you to feel the joys of the highs. 

You haven’t lost yet. Your moment will come. The only way you can lose is if you give up.   

10. Understand The Power Of Killing Your Ego

Our ego is essentially our self-perception.

A big ego will say you’re too good for certain things. It might prevent you trying new things in case this proves you’re not as awesome as you thought.

A small ego says you’re not good. In this case, you won’t try new things because you believe you’re destined to fail.   

Either way, an ego can hold us back. It’s usually better to have no ego at all.

Here are some actions you can take to help kill your ego. 

  • Try new things and fail. You’ll realise you’re not great at everything, although those with small egos might surprise themselves with how well they did. 
  • Spend time with people who are better than you. We’ve already explored the benefits of this. Those with a big ego might actively avoid this, because it shows them they’re not as good as they believe.  
  • Engage in comfort zone exercises. By definition, comfort zone exercises make you feel a bit silly, and not as cool as you once thought. They’re great for humbling big egos, or showing small egos what you are capable of.  
  • Ignore all external validation. Don’t base your self-esteem on other people’s comments, good or bad. Learn to self-validate based on how you feel about your achievements. 
  • Start a daily meditation practice. As we’ve explored, this can help separate you from your thoughts and allow you to decide whether to embrace them. 

11. What Is A Good Story To Tell About Yourself?

Here’s a good question to ask yourself. What would you do with your life if you knew you could not fail?

If you’re not on that journey right now, it’s partly to do with the story you’re telling yourself.

A good new story to create would be how you overcame fear of failure to pursue this life you always wanted.

This is what I have helped hundreds of clients to do in my role as a life coach, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.    

12. How Can I Change My Narrative In My Life?

As the Gandhi quote suggests, it’s great to start by changing your mindset. You’ve seen plenty of tips to make that happen in this guide.

You’re changing your perspective so you can change your actions. That’s your ultimate goal. 

Once you change your actions, you change your narrative. If your actions don’t improve, your narrative never will.

Any More Questions About The Stories You Tell Yourself Or How To Rewrite Your Story?

Thanks for reading my article! It was a pleasure to write. Hopefully, I’ve made a strong point about the power of the stories we tell ourselves.  

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Please feel free to share this post with friends, family members or any other person who you think may want to read it. 

If you want to ask some questions related to your self-narrative, feel free to post them in the comments section below.

I look forward to reading your comment and will do my best to write back.

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