Our happiness depends on the way we develop our life stories.
It is the narrative that matters.
Facts don’t change but the narrative keeps on changing.
Recall the story you tell during your interviews.
A failure in the past becomes a stepping stone to bigger achievements.
As we grow we slowly develop these narratives into a meaningful plot.
We also constantly update them. Revise them.
Facts don’t change. Some facts are discarded and replaced with relevant facts that matter to you.
Failed relationships are forgotten. Misadventures are chucked away. Career dips are deleted.
But all this happens in the minds of people who build positive narratives.
These narratives are called redemptive narratives (search from Dan McAdams’ research in this area.). Redemptive narratives have a progressive growth story.
To make the progressive story even better, you anticipate positive events around you.
Now, look at the flip side.
Stories that still carry the burden of failures and misfortune build a depressing narrative.
Facts don’t change. But the mind only picks facts that are toxic to the self.
Even in this case, the narratives keep on changing.
Depressing narratives pick up events of failure to build a very justifying story. Justification matters because you can’t fool yourself right?
Irrelevant failures are dropped from the plot, failures that contribute to a better story remain.
To make the depressing story even better, you anticipate depressing events.
We all are storytellers.
And the state of our mind depends on the type of stories that we weave.
Want to be happy? Build a positive and progressive narrative.
It only takes a little imagination.