Psychologist, Dr Jason Frishman, takes us on a journey exploring the importance of the stories we tell ourselves, and how to update them to serve us better.
Using the metaphor of journey and adventure we can create a new story around fatherhood. It might not have us off chasing dragons, like a typical hero’s journey, but it can be meaningful and values-driven.
I love the way Jason suggests re-framing the way we look at everyday tasks as opportunities to contribute towards serving our broader, deeper purpose and values. Then identify small units of expression of those values to carry out everyday.
The example he uses is his value of having a welcoming home. He wants all his friends to know that if they knock on the door at anytime, there will be a roaring, warm fire and they can join him and his family for a meal. For Jason the smallest unit of expression of that value is chopping wood. He could get resentful about having to do the chore of chopping wood every night but now he’s pegged it to keeping a fire going and therefore supporting his core value of maintaining a welcoming home.
Instead of epic, legendary adventures, most of everyday life can be rather mundane but once we establish what our purpose and values are we can identify the tasks that chart us in the right direction towards living a more meaningful life.
One of the ways he suggests for discerning your values is to think about an origin story of yours when things went well. Then describe what that says about you, what does that say about what you care about and what’s important to you?
One of the hardest things we have to tackle as fathers is that we have a life’s worth of stories tied up in our identity just before we have our first child, then that all changes and we have to adapt our stories and develop new ones. Otherwise we risk lamenting the past and not appreciating what’s in front of us in the moment.
"The stories we tell ourselves about the world have a major impact on our thoughts and feelings.”
Jason also talks about a tactic for becoming ‘wonder full’ (or awe-inspired and curious) that he uses with his son. It’s a mindfulness exercise that goes something like this:
What am I experiencing right now with each of my senses?
Next, get curious. Out of those senses, what is something that you are experiencing right now that you can engender a little bit of curiosity about?
Finally, gratitude, what are you grateful for when it comes to the things that you were experiencing and curious about? It’ll take you about 3 minutes and really help in grounding you.
Hope you have a great week.