The transformational power of how you talk about your life



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The transformational power of how you talk about your life - BBC

How you talk about the major events of your life has a profound impact on your personality. If you change your life story, could you become a healthier, happier person?

Imagine that, when you were 12 years old, your family moved to the other side of the country. In your new school, you were bullied for the first time. When you reflect upon this period of your life today, do you see this as just one of many episodes in which things were going great, and then turned sour? Or do you see it as another example of a tough experience that had a happy ending – perhaps the bullying toughened you up, or led you to meet the person who became your lifelong buddy?

It may not seem as if the way you tell this story, even just to yourself, would shape who you are. But it turns out that how you interpret your life, and tell its story, has profound effects on what kind of person you become.

In the mid-20th Century, the show This Is Your Life was a popular staple on British and US televisions. It involved celebrities and non-celebrities being presented with a red book that featured key events, pivotal turning points and memories from their lives. For the show, these life stories were compiled by researchers. But in reality each of us walks around with a version of the “red book” – one personally authored, often without us even realising it – in our mind.