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Friday, March 23, 2018

"Negative narratives do not define me"

That's what I wrote today in my journal of positives. A negative narrative can define someone by seeming to identify all the features of an individual with a single trait. (Saying someone is a criminal or an addict, for example.)

I guess that's why I also don't like the tropes about Sylvia Plath or other suffering artists. It is very easy: all you need is one identifying idea and then you understand the artist.  Kahlo's suffering body, Plath's depression, Monk's eccentricity, Bird's heroin, Lorca's sexuality.

Even when the narrative is not negative, it is still a mistake. Don't let yourself be defined by one positive narrative either.  We are multi-faceted individuals. That's what gives us the capacity for growth.

***

Growth, by the way, is a more useful category than change. Things change all the time, whether we like it or not, and change in itself is neither negative or positive. I don't know whether people can change, but they can grow. At one point I felt myself becoming, always, more like my own core self, hardening in all my preferences. That occurs too as one gets older, but growth is better.  

3 comments:

Leslie said...

But this is why I am so against psychotherapy. It is all about taking a multifaceted narrative and turning it into a highly negative one, and the trying to turn that into a mostly false positive. You are not allowed to look at things as they are.

Jonathan said...

So maybe some people aren't as complex, so the single narrative works for them? I've had therapists who aren't that smart or who didn't seem to get what was saying.

Leslie said...

I think most people have a Christian education and so are seriously convinced of the importance of being right or wrong, good or evil, in power or in an abject situation. If you aren't self-righteous or envious or consumed with desire for revenge, that a therapist could calm, they cannot understand you.