Narratives as Containers

Tupperware stacked. Public domain image.

Sometimes, we build narratives and rehearse those narratives as containers to hold our emotions. The emotions might truly be about the situation at hand. But at times, however, and in some cases, even more, those narratives might become containers to hold the anxiety, pain, denial, or grief about older events in our lives. We might be aware of this; we might not. We might become aware of this over time.

The emotions are valid. So valid. Sometimes, these built-narratives help us externalize emotions so we can deal with what our bodies have been carrying internally. Sometimes, we truly need these narratives in order to survive. But sometimes, these narratives become maladaptive and get in our way too. They might tell us untruths about ourselves. They might become self-sabotaging. Within this container, we need to remove those emotions and put them with the older situations where they really belong.

And when we become aware of this, we can realize that we are empowered to become the author of many narratives. We certainly can’t control everything — hardly — but we can write much of what we want and what we need. We can craft narratives of possibility that we fill in in ways we desire. We are no longer limited or controlled by difficult narratives, but we are freed for creating them intentionally.

Renee Roederer

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