We’re living in turbulent times. Illness has been in the headlines for months on a global scale. We are bombarded with numbers, on a daily basis, of the number infected and the number dead. Media broadcasts the mass graves being dug in South America. We also see forty-five hundred trumpet players who at the same time (in their own time zone) play taps in honor of all those who have died during these trying experiences.
How do you develop your story? What influences you when it comes to stories you share, retell, or embellish? How are you fairing with the massive influx of news stories, each outlet vying for your attention and support? If you are following television, journalists, and social media, you can’t avoid over-stimulation. We’re targeted like kids in a classroom all raising their hands yelling “Pick me, Pick me”.
Humans are sponges. From the time of our birth we absorb information in our environment. We learn by experience. We observe how others respond to situation and use that information to form our opinions and strategies for success.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Who is writing your narrative”. An actor is given a script to follow. They say the lines given to them. It doesn’t matter their opinion in the real world, actors say what they’re told say. The narrative on screen is different than one’s narrative walking the streets.
The twelve-step programs have an important saying, “Take what you need and leave the rest”. There’s a belief stressing quantity over quality. The more information one has the better the decision or action; it’s not always true. If we’re not selective in forming our own narratives, we deal with cognitive dissonance. Have you ever played tug-o-war when you were a kid? Imagine that tension and effort going on within your mind.
Critical thinking is a skillset slipping through our fingers. We teach kids to pass a test. We’ve become a society where the Pied Pipers lead groups. Unfortunately, if you know anything about the Pied Piper, he led the rats off a pier to drown. Now is the time for individuation. We did it physically and developmentally as adolescents. We learned to go out in the world and survive.
We’re living in a time when adaptability is more important than strength. We’re being forced to sift through the smoke screens and find clarity. Culturally, we’re working toward developing new strategies for peaceful resolution to conflict.
What does your narrative say about you? How are you crafting the story you want to tell and want to live? What impact does your narrative have on the world?
Greg Katz, PhD is a psychotherapist and visual anthropologist. He works to Change Health, Change Communities, and Change Society through creative self-expression. You can follow Greg on Instagram: @drfiber for visual art that can be used for writing prompts and discussion. Or find out more about Greg at http://www.gregkatz.com
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