Your Personal Myth. –The strong and impressionable experiences of your past become the template of your self-concept, and the filter for your new experiences.
It is critical to unravel the stories that we are telling ourselves about who we are in order to make any kind of change in any aspect of life, even if your goal is as simple as just feeling better.
Your self-concept guides your interpretation of life events. Depending on how you relate to yourself , you may interpret knocking over a glass at a social function in a variety of ways- As a demonstration of your clumsiness, as the fault of whoever put the glass there, or as something that simply needs to be cleaned up.
You will experience the emotions that you believe are appropriate to the meaning which you have assigned to your interpretation, and, you will also have a belief about the meaning of the emotions. Ie:
1)Knock over glass=clumsy=bad=embarrassed=rejected by current company
2)Knock over a glass=fault of someone else=they are bad=anger=rejection of current company.
3)Needs to be cleaned up=neutral=find a cloth=resume the social function.
This is an oversimplification, and there are exponentially more potential combinations and interpretations – but you get the point.
Your experiences and the way that you understand what these experiences mean about you have become the critical guiding posts of your daily decisions. Your personal myth is reinforced by your daily interpretation of all of your experiences.If you believe that you are not a convincing person, you may shy away from negotiating your needs, and never develop that skill as a reinforcement of that belief.
To have a new experience – interpret your experience in a new way! This will lead to the ability to snap out of patterns and have new kinds of experiences all together.
Understand that you have been choosing your self-concept since the moment you conceived your first thought. You can change any belief you have that works against your desired outcomes. When we are small and vulnerable, we learn from others how to interpret the world and internalize these experiences as ‘truths’ or beliefs. (For example, the idea that the world is a dangerous place can come from internalizing the anxiety of our parents). Beliefs that were formed during the earlier periods of our lives tend to feel most true. Not because they are more valid, but because they are most familiar and have weathered a lifetime of reinforcement.
An example of a myth that is commonly adopted through punishment and reward style parenting and teaching is “I am unworthy”. When we believe that we must live up to the expectations of an external authority, we accept an external evaluation of our self-worth, as well as the idea that it is possible to be worthless.
Through this belief system we strive to achieve the culturally defined landmarks of success. This personal myth can sink deep roots into adult life. Think about what motivates you. Do you strive beyond your physical boundaries? Do you catch yourself thinking you might have more dating success if you had a different job? Do you consider the opinions of others more valuable than your own? Do you spend time achieving the ‘right goals’ over nurturing your natural abilities?
The quest for worthiness is a common personal myth that can lead you to sacrifice your well being. Because the very deep and honest human desire for love and connection is very powerful, if you have been taught to equate love with success, as is the result of this personal myth-you may find yourself making concessions that seem to be more important.
If this is a myth that resonates with you – please take a moment to absorb the following: You are intrinsically worthy, by virtue of your existence. You have been blessed with gifts and abilities that are unique to you. Learn to recognize and appreciate the gifts that you have, and nurture them. By sharing who you are with others, you will experience love and satisfaction beyond the mask of being a “good little boy or girl”.
You can learn how to examine how you use your own personal myth to guide your self-concept, and observe how your self-concept has been running on auto-pilot. In learning how to recognize the beliefs that shape our self-interpretations we will recognize our individual power – that we are exactly who we tell ourselves we are.