Our world is at a tipping point of changing our global story. We are recognizing the narratives that surround us. We are becoming aware that narratives influence how we perceive not only ourselves, but other groups of people. Narratives can be positive or damaging. The story of “us” springs from many sources, history, religion, culture, education, family and community. The narrative of those who are Black/African-American is being challenged through movements like #BlackLivesMatter. The narratives of those who are LGBTQ is being challenged through political campaigns like marriage equality. The narratives of women and victims of sexual assault are being challenged through movements like #MeToo. These movements are shifting narratives from negative to positive and bringing visibility to those who are oppressed. Our global society needs to become aware of these narratives for a truly equal and healthy society.
We also need to change the narratives in our own lives. If our narrative is centered around self-hate, fear or doubt, then our stories will be filled with negativity. So, how do we change our narrative? The first step is simple. We pay attention to our actions, words and thoughts. The second step is where the real work begins. We have to dive deep into our narrative to realign what we do say and think. We have to read between the lines, search our personal history and recognize our privilege. We each have different narratives including personal and cultural. I encourage you to open you eyes a little wider and discover if your narrative is enriching or diminishing your life.
On my journey of healing from depression and trauma, I had to open up to my narrative. In recovery I learned to take control and change my narrative from being a victim to becoming my own hero. It is a challenge that I consciously choose to accept. Each time I have changed my narrative; from self-hate to self-love, from ugly to beautiful, from poor to rich; my life has improved. This is not easy. It’s been scary. I’ve had to go into my shadowy spots and relive trauma that was painful. Recovery is a process that can take months or years depending on how deep you are into addiction, trauma, or illness. The most obvious reward is a renewed sense of living.
The more obscure reward is connecting to people I never would have met and cultivating a deeper relationship with family and friends. By understanding my own narrative, I am more compassionate and empathetic to the narratives of others. The experience has been beautiful and sorrowful. In the past, learning about inequality turned me toward apathy. However, because of my recovery I can finally rise up and do something. The saying that you can’t help others until you help yourself, is truer than true. Each day I am writing my own future and holding space for others to write theirs.
I was inspired to write this post after learning about the Reclaiming Native Truth project from the First Nations Development Institute. As a grassroots activist in San Diego, CA, I meet a variety of people, but rarely meet Native Americans. Their struggle has always been present in my life because I have relatives and a few friends who are indigenous to this land. I am aware of the lack of visibility in our modern narrative, how they are portrayed in the media, and the struggles they face. This bothers me. I hope that through actions like this, others will be inspired to learn about what it means to be a modern Native American citizen. Together we can change the narrative.
What is your narrative?
What narratives are you blindly following?
How can you change our global narrative?
I’m an artist and writer with a focus on art therapy. If you would like to support my heart work, please consider becoming a monthly patron on Patreon.com/Loviedo. For $1 a month*, you can fund programs like my D.I.Y. Therapy: Healing Depression E-course, my monthly “Radical” e-zine and other creative healing projects, like “Cultivating Radical Self-Love: A Collaboration of Healers, Artists & Writers“.
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