We have a wonderful guest blog for you today, from Steph Caswell. Steph is the author of six non-fiction books and a writing coach/developmental editor at Creating Happy Writers. She works with service-led business owners who want to write and publish books in their niche, aiming to take the overwhelm away and make the writing journey a happy one. Steph is also a copywriter and an aspiring children’s author.

As you know, I am a huge advocate of owning our own stories, and I talk a lot about how the stories we tell ourselves can shape our lives. When I read what Steph has written here I remember saying “Yes!” a lot. Steph’s words and perspective are right up my street. Please enjoy… Helen x


If you’re feeling out of control of your life, tied to the events of the past or worries about the future, you’re not alone. It’s part of the human condition to reflect and predict, rather than simply focus on the present. But you’re actually in more control than you might think – you can rewrite your story and change the narrative of your life. You can gain back that sense of confidence and control. 

Understanding yourself to rewrite your story

In order to understand your story better and change the narrative, you need to dig deep and understand your beliefs. Not spiritual ones, but those limiting beliefs you carry around with you like a supermarket shopping bag – but one of those really heavy ones that leave nasty red grooves on your fingers. But instead of those painful red grooves being embedded in your fingers, they’re embedded in your heart and mind instead. 

The longer you carry your limiting beliefs around the more painful and damaging they become. Your brain cannot tell the difference between fact and fiction, so the more you tell it you can’t do something, the more it will believe you. So much so that it simply takes your limiting beliefs as fact. And looks for ways to prove you’re right. It’s called confirmation bias. 

Our limiting beliefs are also strongly tied to our identities. And identity is key in any behaviour change. If we identify as someone who ‘can’t’ do something or ‘always’ struggles, those beliefs become part of who we are. Not only that, they limit our potential and ability to improve. We constantly seek situations to confirm this belief. And the scary bit? We do it unconsciously.

So what can be done? How can we start to rewrite this narrative into something that serves us, and helps us to become the confident person we want to be? One who’s in control of their future and learns from their experiences?

Here are 3 tips to help you. 

  1. Surround yourself with the right people

You’re the author of your story, no one else. Yes, it’s pretty obvious when you think about it, but it’s so easy to forget. All too often we let the opinions of others dictate how we feel about ourselves – comparisonitis anyone? However, you’re in control of the people you surround yourself with. You get to write your cast list for this adventure called life.

It’s not always easy to get rid of negative Noras or critical Christophers completely, but you can limit your exposure to them. If you’re looking to change your outlook on life, you want those who’ll wholeheartedly support you in the process. People who’ll be your cheerleaders as you try new things but also challenge you when the time is right. 

When changing your limiting beliefs, telling those closest to you about your plan is a great place to start. You don’t have to tell everyone, but do have a few trusted friends who you can be open and honest with. 

You could even ask them to challenge the narrative you’re telling yourself if they notice you putting yourself down or listening to those limiting beliefs too often. Awareness is key to making change. 

  1. Change the language you’re using

As well as relying on friends to help you, rewriting your story stems from the words you use when you talk to yourself. It’s about becoming aware of the things you say and, more often than not, the way you say them.That little voice inside your head can be on your side…or totally against you.

Awareness starts with writing down some of the comments you frequently say to yourself. Here are a few that might ring true for you:

  • I could never do that
  • I’m always making mistakes
  • That’s impossible
  • Nothing in life goes my way

These types of phrases use absolutes – i.e. ‘never’, ‘always’, ‘nothing’ – and they can stop you from going after your ambitions and rewriting your story. If you think in absolutes, you need to teach yourself to become aware of that language and stop it in its tracks. 

On that piece of paper where you’ve written those negative comments, rewrite them into more positive language. Let’s use the examples above again:

  • I could never do that BECOMES I can do this but I might need some support
  • I’m always making mistakes BECOMES It’s okay to make mistakes – that’s how I learn
  • That’s impossible BECOMES It seems impossible but there’s a solution for everything
  • Nothing in life goes my way BECOMES Lots of things have gone right for me in the past, it just seems difficult right now
  1. Avoid striving for perfection

We often get caught up imagining the perfect day or the perfect life … or the perfect cup of tea. But striving for perfection is a one-way ticket to Stressville. When we constantly strive for something that’s impossible to achieve, we regularly feel disappointed with ourselves and our lives.

Instead, why not strive to be someone who takes risks and makes mistakes? It might seem a terribly daunting prospect but you’ll learn more about yourself by doing so. You don’t need to do anything gargantuan either. Start off by taking risks in a small way – in a way that feels safe. 

If things go wrong, instead of berating yourself and feeling disappointed, look for ways the experience could help you in the future. It might take a while, particularly if you’re reeling from a big disappointment, but that’s okay. When it feels right, grab your journal and reflect. Name the emotions you’ve been feeling but also note down what you’ve learned and ways to avoid anything like that happening again. 

Author Mark Manson says life is about solving one problem after another. It’s getting comfortable with that concept that matters. Once you’ve solved one problem, your solution tends to produce a different problem to solve straight away anyway! Mark suggests life is about finding the problems you enjoy solving, rather than the ones you don’t! 

Rewriting your story is in your control

You are completely in control of your thoughts and responses to whatever life throws at you. Reframing negative experiences and limiting beliefs is the key to taking back that control. Start small and build from there. As a result, your confidence will grow and you’ll feel ready to tackle bigger challenges that come your way. 

You have the power to change your future. To write the narrative that works for you. It all starts with controlling your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and making them work for you, instead of against you. 

As Susan Statham says, “Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.” 

Steph Caswell

April 2022

You can find Steph on Instagram