Each of us has an inner autobiography that has a profound impact on motivation, enjoyment of life, and even the ability to see our- selves as capable of a given challenge. We each also have a massive inner movie “library.” It’s like a chaotic scrapbook of everything that has had meaning to us in our lives. This library contains memories, experiences, and beliefs that are constantly producing new inner movies and adapting old ones. Behind all of these inner movie clips is the story we have about our lives, the world, and how we fit into it. I call this story the inner autobiography.
Inner autobiographies run our lives by telling us who we are and how we fit into the world. This is the brain’s way of using past experiences to make us safe and successful in the present. It reminds us not to take bad risks that are similar to ones that have burned us in the past. It also reminds us of the best ways we’re likely to get what we want. By the way, these lessons from the past sometimes no longer work for us in our lives today. We may need new inner movies to be successful in new situations.
Over time, everything we experience shapes our worldview. The more emotional an experience is, the more it impacts our inner autobiographies.
Starting in childhood, and progressing throughout life, we tend to see ourselves in a particular type of role, or character. Some of us see ourselves as heroes in our inner autobiographies. Some of us see ourselves as victims. A few even see ourselves as villains. This includes the concepts of self-esteem, self-worth, and even self-confidence; and our inner autobiographies define and limit the choices we think we have.
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