Blogger | Teacher
A new phrase I learned recently in therapy was “life script.” As we were talking about why I react in certain ways to different situations, my therapist looked at me and said, “Ahh, I see. This is your script.” At first, I was confused by what she was saying. What did she mean by “script?” Most days I feel like I’m flying through life by the seat of my pants, so I’d never really considered my actions to be scripted in any way.
My therapist explained that a life script is the rules and lessons passed down to you from your family to help you navigate through life. Many of these lessons are not taught directly but rather learned through interacting with your parents, grandparents, and other relatives. For some people, their script teaches them the proper way to act in order to gain a life partner. For others, the script is a set of unspoken guidelines for how to survive difficult situations.
Many times, we have no idea that we’re following a life script of any kind. The lessons and rules that make up our script are things we learned through watching the people around us before unconsciously imitating their thoughts and actions. While scripts can be great for helping us navigate the world when we’re still growing and learning, adulthood is a time to recognize your script and rework and rewrite it to fit your needs and your life.
Because you are not your family
Everyone in your family has their own life script, and while there may be many similarities shared between your scripts, not everyone’s script should be the same. At the end of the day, no matter how much your love your family and how close you are to them, your life is still separate from and independent of theirs in a lot of different ways, and those differences should be reflected in the script your write for yourself.
Sometimes as well, what works for some members of your family simply won’t work for you. If your great-grandmother’s script was all about learning how to find a partner because she dreamed of having a big family but you want to prioritize your independence and career, your scripts shouldn’t be the same. While hers may have lessons she learned about what appeals to prospective partners, yours should be centered on ways to advance in your career field and become an independent person.
No one’s life script is inherently wrong, but just because you’re family doesn’t mean you have to carry on other people’s lessons.
Because other people’s trauma isn’t yours to carry
One of the biggest things I learned about my life script while talking with my therapist is that many of the lessons we learned were developed during moments of struggle or trauma. Many people face horrible circumstances during their life that push them to learn ways of properly coping and surviving. They have to push through the difficult times, often avoiding the more emotional parts of themselves because there’s no time to stop and consider how they’re feeling when they’re just trying to survive.
However, if you allow your script to be written by someone living in survival mode, you will unconsciously carry their trauma into your own life. You too will live as if you are struggling to survive – even if your life is completely fine and devoid of any of those tragic circumstances. It’s important to look at the lessons you’ve learned through fresh eyes that can recognize the difference between “This can help me in life” and “I no longer need this lesson because I’m not really struggling.”
After you separate the two, you’ll be better able to write your script to reflect your own life and needs.
Because the world changes and so should you
At the end of the day, one of the biggest reasons you should reconsider, rework, or rewrite your life script is that the world is constantly changing. This is especially true if your script is borrowed from family members who lived completely different lives from you when the world had different expectations and struggles than it does now. Everything is constantly evolving, you have to be willing and able to change with the times in order to not only survive but thrive.
There is a lot of fear about change, but there is beauty in it, too. The struggles of your grandmother may not be applicable lessons for you as the world is so different now than it was when she was young. We should always look to our past (and the history of our ancestors) to understand where we came from, but we need to look at the here and now to see how we can grow and change to be prepared for a better future.
Because you’re the only one who lives your life
When considering your life script, it’s important to recognize that you’re the one who lives your life. The people around you will always have ideas and opinions on ways to live effectively, and those are valid for them, but you are in no way required to live the life other people want you to. You don’t have to live silently if you’re a vibrant personality who thrives on being loud, and you’re free to make decisions about your life that benefit you.
Even if other people disagree with your actions or have their own opinions, you’re the one that has to live your life. You’re the person who wakes up every day in your body and decides if you’re happy with the direction you’re going. Make sure that your life script and the rules you write for yourself can help you thrive in your surroundings and make you happy to be alive.
Because self-awareness is a gift we all must give ourselves
Rethinking, reworking, and rewriting your life script is a trial of self-awareness that we all need to undergo a few times during our lives. It forces you to look at yourself and everything you know and actively consider whether you’re okay with the direction your life is heading in and the person you’ve become. This can be an incredibly scary thought, and deep-diving into your mind isn’t always the most pleasant experience for everyone.
Regardless, it’s important to take time throughout the course of your life to become reacquainted with yourself. More than anyone else, you should know your mind, spirit, and thoughts inside and out. You are the only person who can truly take care of yourself and your needs, and you can’t do that if you don’t look at who you are now and where you want to go. Rewriting your life script should be about fostering the life that is good for you and benefits your growth during your journey, so don’t be afraid to get a little introspective.
Getting to know yourself all over again can be one of the most beautiful and healing gifts you can give yourself, so take this moment of reworking and rewriting to learn who you are and what you need. Listen to the person inside you searching for hope and change and take care of them. They deserve good things and all the happiness the world has to offer.
Do you know of other reasons we should rethink, rework, and rewrite our life script? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.