NEWSLETTER

ISSUE NO 4

THERAPY

Your Authentic Self

By Margoth Tove Kalstad

In my master study in diakonia I came across narrative theory of self that intrigued me, it made me realized that no one create their life story alone. Other people’s story about us shows how we are interconnected and play a part in each other’s life.

Narrative theory

Is about the process of making our personal identity and self-understanding, there are 3 level of narratives that interact with each other. Meta narratives is anchored in our ideological, culture, philosophy or religious tradition, this narrative have a cohesive and community-building function connected to different social groups and persons that is part of the society we grow up in. it helps us to give content and directions to the society and to the communal self-understanding, central values, moral, human vision and life view.

We-narratives

They relate to the characteristics and history of different ethnic or social groups, or to the special characteristics of geographical areas. We have, for example, notions about the peculiarities of northerners as different from those of southerners, or about what are the special characteristics of other nationalities. Similarly, "we-narratives" may be related to the specific nature of a genus or family. Even though the space for individual choices has been dramatically expanded in a postmodern culture, we-narratives related to, for example, ethnicity and strong family traditions still play a significant role for many. They place marked guidelines on our values and our choices of action, and thus clearly contribute to the shaping of our identity and self-understanding.

I-narrative

We have seen that both the overarching cultural and ideological traditions (meta-narratives) and the uniqueness of the social and generational interaction within social groups and family / kinship (we-narrative lives), play a crucial role in shaping our life experience and self-understanding. However, this does not mean that the individual's freedom is destroyed in overarching, collective processes.The crucial importance of individual reflection and choice is emphasized through "I-narratives"; how the individual uniqueness in each person's life story is emphasized. This has connection with the freedom that each person must process and reinterpret concerning their own and the family's experiences; Then take a stand on the values and priorities that the social community conveys. It is part of the adult's responsibility and privilege to take stock of both the cultural heritage ("meta-narratives"), the generational heritage ("we-narratives"), values and interpretations of life. In this way, it also opens up the possibility that the "I-narratives" can be constantly designed ("constructed"), critically processed ("de-constructed") and reshaped in new ways ("re-constructed") by virtue of new experiences and insights.

Colour to our life

When someone gives a presentation of us, they speak from their own narrative interpretation and understanding and sometimes it can be hard to recognize and grasp other people’s understanding of us. Despite this it is good to look at our life in a much broader sense. Other people bring colour and memories to our life. They become co-creators in shaping who we are and how we become.It is beautiful and normal and brings happiness and a sense of community and connection.

Losing the connection

When we lose the sense of this connection to others through our narrative, we lose connection to ourselves and others. When we have trouble to connect, it is easy to overthink and go into a spiral of thinking that other people does not care. Such negative connotations about others and ourselves bring us out of balance, and this spiral of negativity can hold us hostage. The only way out is to become aware of what is going on and make a conscious effort to get out of this negative spiral of thoughts. It helps to question your thinking and not take it for granted that your mind got the whole truth! It is our thinking that drives us out of the connections with ourselves and others. We are borne wired for connections and when connections are missing, we start to do all sorts of things to fill this longing for connections.

Your idealized self

Your idealized self is merely a draft and not a blueprint of who you are meant to be; it gives you ideas and possibilities. Only when you allow yourself to go on the journey and investigate your idealized self can you discover who you are and so much more! Who do you think you have to be to become accepted and liked? Do you need to be successful in a certain way or field?  Always have a happy smile, be quiet, keep yourself invisible, not show emotions like happy, sad, angry or eager. We all have images of an idealized self that we try to live up to, but the more we try to be this idealized picture of our selves, the more we will experience distance from ourselves and others. An example of this is the BBC comedy “Keeping Up Appearances” main character is Hyacinth Bucket, a woman from middle class, chasing her idealized self, and in doing so she ends up terrorizing her family, neighbors and everyone else.

Acceptance

What I find in the people I admired the most, is their generous ability to accept themselves as they are and their background; Not as an excuse, but they understand something important: “the paradox of change”; a theory that explains the importance of accepting whatever situation you are instead of the change you wish could happen. No matter how terrible you feel about yourself, and how much you wish for change, it starts with acceptance. When I say acceptance, I do not mean it in a negative way; I am like this, so there is no hope for me. This is often the understanding many people have, and therefore they are afraid to accept their situation. Our idealized self is connected to the emotional picture we hold, and we know that emotions are in motion constantly and difficult to hold on to. In therapy we can work with accepting what is, and look for the steps you need to take to come closer to yourself and others. An exciting journey of personal growth.  

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Did you hear about the mathematician who is afraid of negative numbers?

He’ll stop at nothing to avoid them. 

What we are today comes from your thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life tomorrow. Our life is the creation of our mind. Buddha

All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are caused by too much future, and
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of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence. Eckhart Tolle

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