In our heads we construct and maintain narratives (stories) about ourselves and other people all the time. These stories are constructed from past events, often dramatised or exaggerated over time, and then replayed continuously. They go round and round like a record. These continuous negative stories stop us seeing the truth, prevent us from growing into better people and prevent us experiencing new life.

For example, say a person has the narrative that they are hopeless at fixing things mechanical around the house. Their father told them they were hopeless, they tried and failed a few times in the past so now they panic if they have to even change a washer on a tap. The old narrative creates the new negative behaviour.

In all relationships, work and home, we create stories about people and these same narratives filter anything and everything we experience with these people.

Couples over time create narratives about their partners. They might see them as lazy, unreliable, inconsiderate or in need of challenging on every front with an argument. Sure, there were times when they were lazy, unreliable and inconsiderate but maybe there were other times when they were: loving, caring, funny, helpful and sexy. These other positive narratives don’t get a chance because all future perceptions are based on old negative stories.

Can I take my own experience, as I am only human? My partner plays a little rough with our dog over ball games and in the past the poor creature tore a cruciate ligament. $2500 later, eight weeks in aftercare and I had to do all the vet stuff myself. Just the other day I come home and it has happened again, two years after the last incident. Immediately I think what an idiot my boyfriend is, he is so irresponsible with our canine, he never has to look after her care and here I am again placed in a position to take her to the vet and do all the after care.

But there is another narrative. He loves our dog, they have great fun swimming together, he loves to walk her and he was just trying to brighten up her day after being left for some hours. He is a great cook, loves people, is really kind and he is devastated about the injury.

Changing the narrative allows you the freedom to let go of so much negative self-story telling and to start seeing life and people in a new light. Old negative story telling keeps us imprisoned in the same negative thought patterns.

So how hard is it to get rid of all those old negative stories in your head. Well first be aware of them. Think of someone now and then think of the narrative you have constructed. Now either throw it away or reconstruct a new narrative looking for positive elements in the story. Instantly there is a load off your shoulders as you begin to see things differently. Try it for yourself and start living afresh.

INFO: Gerry North is a gay couple counsellor and can be contacted at or email [email protected]

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