In-between are the doors
slip into your inner darkness, issue #99
#Prompt: Flip your story
I thought I’d start this issue off with a prompt. It’s one I think you’ll love. It will require you to really play with your imagination, which should be fun.
Here's the prompt:
Freud had this cool idea about understanding the unconscious. He believed that denying something was just as important as affirming it. Basically, what you try to deny shapes you as much as what you accept. So, here's a fun way to explore your unknown self: turn everything upside down! Pretend you are what you think you're not, and that you're not what you think you are. Give your story a complete flip and see what you discover!
In-between are the doors
This quote has been attributed to a number of authors, including William Blake, the poet; Aldous Huxley, the writer; Ray Manzarek, keyboard player from The Doors; and Jim Morrison, also from The Doors:
There are things that are known and things that are unknown; in between are the doors of perception.
I thought it would be a good lead-in to talk about the unknown self.
Have you ever thought about how what we know about ourselves is in constant conversation with the darkness within us? It's interesting to think about how our self-knowledge and ignorance are connected because of how our minds are structured.
Our minds are prone to little quirks that can influence our thinking and decision-making. Sometimes these quirks reinforce our self-knowledge, and sometimes they reveal our ignorance. For example, confirmation bias leads us to seek information that supports our beliefs and, at the same time, makes it harder for us to see other perspectives.
We also have mental shortcuts that help us navigate the world. They're great for simplifying things, but sometimes they can be oversimplified or inaccurate, further exposing our ignorance. When our mental models are on point, though, they can really boost our self-knowledge!
And don't forget memories (haha, no pun intended). They can be a treasure trove of self-knowledge, but they can also be a bit unreliable and selective. We might remember certain things that support our beliefs and forget others that could challenge them. It's a double-edged sword!
Misconceptions or incomplete knowledge can lead to ignorance too. And since our minds can't absorb and retain everything, we have to choose what to focus on, which can sometimes contribute to ignorance as well.
In short, when we focus on one thing, we inevitably ignore something else.
This is where the unknown self comes into play. It holds all of our experiences, feelings, fantasies, and possibilities that we may repress instead of acting on. But this unconscious life can't be contained forever and often manifests itself in a number of ways: through our dreams, slips of the tongue, projections of anger, and love. Or they seep into our dreams, revealing repressed emotions, unfulfilled desires, or hidden talents.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” Well, actually, it can, and it can also help you. The best thing to do is to pay attention to the conversations between your known and unknown selves and to understand yourself better.
Reframing a limiting belief
We all have beliefs about ourselves and the world around us that shape our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Sometimes these beliefs can be empowering and motivating, helping us achieve our goals and live fulfilling lives. Other times, however, these beliefs can be limiting and self-defeating, holding us back from our true potential.
That's where narrative coaching comes in. Narrative coaching is a type of coaching that focuses on the stories we tell ourselves and the narratives we use to make sense of our experiences. By exploring and re-framing these narratives, we can gain insight into our own patterns of thinking and behavior, and develop new ways of approaching challenges and opportunities.
One powerful narrative coaching exercise for reframing limiting beliefs is the "new ending" exercise. Here's how it works:
Start by identifying a belief that is holding you back in some way. This could be a belief about yourself, your abilities, or your place in the world. For example, you might believe that you're not smart enough to succeed in your career, or that you'll never find a partner who truly loves you.
Next, tell a story that illustrates this limiting belief. This story could be based on a real-life experience or a fictional scenario. Be as detailed as possible, describing the setting, the characters, and the emotions involved.
Once you've shared your story, imagine a different ending. What if the story had gone differently? What if you had made a different choice or taken a different path? Be creative and explore different possibilities.
Now, write a new ending to the story. This ending should reflect a more positive and empowering belief about yourself and your abilities. For example, if your original story was about a failed job interview, your new ending might involve you receiving a job offer from a different company.
Finally, reflect on what you've learned from this exercise. How does the new ending reflect a more positive belief about yourself and your abilities? How can you use this new belief to move forward and achieve your goals?
By using this narrative coaching exercise, you can gain insight into your own patterns of thinking and behavior, and develop new ways of approaching challenges and opportunities. You can learn to reframe limiting beliefs and develop a more positive and empowering self-narrative, leading to greater self-awareness, confidence, and resilience.
Give it a try.
I’ve been writing most of the day. I put on a white noise generator just to see what it was like. I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I played it on low through the Echo Dot on my desk.
What do you have on in the background when you’re working?
I’m going to be out of the net for a few days, so you probably won’t get another issue of The Coach’s Notes until Monday (although that’s a bank holiday, so I might just extend my chill).
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Admin note: You may have noticed I’ve started adding an issue number to The Notes. This is to make it easier to reference past issues.