The most critical voices in your life are often inside of your head. You expect so much of yourself. You have great intentions. Time and time again, you fall short of your desired goals.
Then you remind yourself of it repeatedly. Your inner voice whispers to you, “You are such a fake. You never do the right things. You should be ashamed.” The guilty feelings don’t go away. The ache of inadequacy pulls you down into despair. The memories of your failures are way bigger than any success you have experienced.
Over the past few years, I have learned the expression, “This is a false narrative.” It is often used in social media along with news outlets. A false narrative is defined as a story that you perceive as being true but has little basis in reality. This is not the same as pure fiction. The false story takes real information and then interprets the facts in a fake or imagined way.
False narratives come to us for two primary reasons that I could find in my research. One, they happen because there are insufficient information and an inaccurate assessment. We don’t have all the details, and what we do have can be misconstrued. What I see more is that people ignore part of the information and focus on the one negative part. They remember their failures vividly and forget the successes.
The second reason we are drawn to false narratives is that they elicit strong emotions, even if they are all negative. Anger and fear are the two most significant emotions that people usually feel. They are disgusted with themselves and afraid that one day everyone will find out how big of a screw up they are despite their best efforts to hide that fact.
One of the reasons I encourage people to attend Church every weekend, spend time with believers weekly, and read their Bible daily is so that they can hear the voice of truth. “You have sinned, but all of us have. You are not alone. You are forgiven. You are loved. You can do better. You can’t change the past, but you can make a new future.” These are the words we need to hear over and over to silence the voices in our heads.
The only way to truly conquer the false narrative that plays in our minds is by continually exposing ourselves to the truth. Today, at some point, the words will creep into our minds and slowly pull us down. I encourage all of you to take strength; the narrative is false. Grace is real, and God is writing a new story with each one of our lives.