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The Power of Self-Narratives: Inspire Inclusion in 'The Stories We Tell Ourselves'

As we step into March, a month brimming with the promise of spring, we also commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD). Since its inception in March 1911, this day has served as a beacon of global activism and celebration for women's equality. 

This year's theme, "Inspire Inclusion," resonates deeply especially as it highlights the importance of inspiring women to understand and value their feelings of inclusion, fostering a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment. The question arises: how do women themselves become inspired to embrace inclusion? The answer lies in the stories we tell ourselves.

Our self-narratives shape our perspectives and significantly impact how we experience life and navigate challenges, especially in the pursuit of inclusion. 

In this blog post, we'll explore the 5 keys to unlocking the power of self-narratives and the profound influence of those narratives on our response to day-to-day challenges as women. We'll also delve into the role of generational inheritance, genetics, and environmental stimuli in shaping these narratives.  5 Keys to Unlocking the Power of Self-Narratives

1. Understanding the Power of Self-Narratives:

Our self-narratives, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, are deeply influenced by our generational inheritance, genetics, and environmental stimuli. It plays a significant role in shaping our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours. For example, consider how a woman's upbringing and familial dynamics can shape her self-narratives. If she grew up in an environment where academic achievement was highly valued, she may internalize a narrative of perfectionism and fear of failure. These narratives  impact how we perceive ourselves, others and the circumstances we face and how we approach challenges in both our personal and professional lives.

Imposter syndrome is another example of the power of self-narratives. Women may doubt their abilities and feel inadequate in certain roles or environments, feeling like they don't belong despite their qualifications and achievements. This narrative can significantly impact confidence and performance and can lead to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, impacting both confidence and performance.

2. Identifying Your Saboteurs:

Saboteurs are internal critics or voices that undermine our confidence and well-being and definitely we need to be aware and understand where they come from. For instance, a woman may inherit a predisposition to anxiety from her family history, which manifests as a saboteur that amplifies her self-doubt in various situations. This often stems from ingrained self-narratives and manifests in various forms, such as self-criticism, fear of failure, or the need for validation. 

Another example is a woman who constantly compares herself to others, leading to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. By identifying our saboteurs and acknowledging their presence, we can begin to understand the root causes of our inner conflicts and work towards embracing them as part of our journey to self-acceptance and inclusion. We can begin to understand the complex interplay between our personal narratives and external factors.

3. Understanding Inner Conflict:

Inner conflict arises from conflicting beliefs, desires, or values within ourselves. Our self-narratives and saboteurs can exacerbate these conflicts, leading to feelings of insecurity, indecision, and self-doubt. Take for example, a woman who inherited a narrative of self-sacrifice from her mother and internalizes it as a belief that she must prioritize others' needs above her own. This inner conflict may stem from conflicting values of self-care and caregiving. While another woman who desires a career change feels held back by self-doubt and fear of failure. This inner conflict may stem from conflicting beliefs about her abilities and worth. By gaining a deeper understanding of our inner conflicts and the role of self-narratives in shaping them, we can develop strategies to navigate challenges more effectively and cultivate a sense of inner peace.

4. Embracing Your Saboteurs:

Embracing our saboteurs is a transformative journey towards self-acceptance and personal growth. Instead of viewing them as adversaries, we can choose to befriend our saboteurs and learn from the valuable lessons they offer. Strategies such as practicing self-compassion, reframing negative thoughts, and challenging limiting beliefs can help us embrace our saboteurs and harness their power to propel us forward.  For example, a woman who inherited a narrative of resilience from her grandmother may learn to lean into understanding her saboteur of self-doubt and use it as an opportunity to cultivate inner strength and perseverance - while a woman who struggles with perfectionism, may learn to embrace imperfection and celebrate progress rather than focusing solely on outcomes.

5. Navigating Inner Conflict:

Navigating inner conflict requires self-awareness, mindfulness, and resilience. By cultivating a deeper understanding of our self-narratives and saboteurs within the context of our personal history and external influences, we can develop healthier coping mechanisms and responses to day-to-day challenges. 

Seeking support from trusted friends, mentors, or professionals can also provide valuable insights and guidance in navigating inner conflicts and fostering personal empowerment. For example, a woman can choose to seek guidance from a therapist or a coach to address underlying self-narratives and develop strategies for managing inner conflicts related to work-life balance and inclusion. This is a life-changing choice for many.

As we recognize International Women’s Day and work to “Inspire Inclusion”, let’s use the keys to unlock the power of our self-narratives and the role they play in shaping the way in which we live and experience our life. Knowledge opens the door to understanding and allows us to embrace our saboteurs within the context of our generational inheritance, genetics, and environment. We can then choose to navigate our inner conflicts with grace and resilience, ultimately empowering ourselves to lead more fulfilling and authentic lives.

Let’s work together, so we can move forward and forge a more inclusive world for all women by starting with the stories we tell ourselves. By understanding and celebrating our stories, we honor our struggles and our journey of self-discovery and growth helping us to build lasting positive change around the world - it doesn’t get any better than that!



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