The Unreliable Narrator

Greetings and welcome back! It’s been a while. I have of late been very drawn to the area of Mindful Based Cognitive Therapy. One of the keystones of these concepts is the idea that your thoughts can be “extra” and can lead to unwanted and unneeded troubling feelings. We do not just think of the moment but think about all the various possible realities – not all of them good ones.  Enter the unreliable narrator.

In literature you may have come to know the concept of the unreliable narrator. This is entertaining literary device with which the writer of the story allows his narrator to tell a skewed story that is subjective to the narrator himself (or a lie he is telling you) but goes adrift from the truth. Much like this Unreliable Narrator in a story, our own brains can narrate unreliably and indeed lie to us about what is really going on in our lives. For instance, have you ever told yourself that the goal in which you didn’t succeed as ruined your life, has proven that you are a failure? All of this grand negative truth extrapolated by one simple unsuccessful venture. Just as no professional study would consider one small piece of information as conclusive evidence for an entire study, one experience on one day (or a couple in a few weeks) does not prove you to be a failure. Regardless, our minds often go on automatic pilot and assume we fail at life because of a few setbacks.

We must regard the unreliable narrator as what it is, untrustworthy and a waist of our attention. You must observe that it is there and in fact trying to narrate your story BUT simply say “I hear you but no thank you”.

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