Internal vs. External Narratives ~ How do they impact our lives?


While we recognize the limitations of any singular blog post’s ability to answer big questions like the ones we’re asking, our intention is not to tell you everything there is to know about this issue, but rather to open up a space for conversation, reflection, curiosity, and a consideration of all the other questions this one question sets in motion.


How do we publicize our internal narratives when we are online?


by: Bridget Haina

Do you hear that? That voice? That voice inside your head? That internal narrative we can have, guiding our every decision each and every day. This internal narrative that is so personal, so sacred to us is not inherently created from within. This story we tell ourselves is created and influenced by all the external narratives that we consume, from our lived experiences to those others share with us. It comes from the books we read, the shows we watch, the music we listen to. It is morphing constantly as we take in more information. And although it will always morph, that doesn’t mean that it is always changing. 

Many of the internal narratives we hold become reinforced as we add to our life experience, solidifying our points of view into “beliefs” and “facts” about ourselves, others and the world, making it harder for contradictory information to penetrate into our thought spaces. Other pieces of our narrative may be more fluid and change easily as we gain a deeper understanding of the world around us.

Humans have been struggling with this dynamic between internal and external narratives since the first story was uttered. How do we externalize our own internal narrative? How do we share it with others? What do we share and why? All questions we each grapple with throughout our lives. 

If that wasn’t complicated enough, now add in the ability to not only share your story with those physically around you, but to share it to the whole world. We have each been given access to worldwide publishing through spaces like Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia. With just a quick post all of my hopes, frustrations, dreams and understandings of life can be sent and shared instantly with other people all over the globe. 

What a magnificent power, the ability to communicate across space and time ~ to capture and immortalize the stories of billions. With this immense power comes a responsibility to instill media literacy and digital citizenship in anyone who wishes to use their story and their beliefs to impact others, public discourse and democracy. 

How will history be told now that the moments of our lives and the thoughts that pass through our minds are so easily recorded and made permanent? How will it impact how we pass our narratives and stories down through generations? So often we can get caught up in the excitement of this power without fully understanding its impact. There is a social consequence to how others are impacted by the information we share, but there is also an internal impact on our own perception of self. What happens when we start externalizing things that were once internalized? What happens when we throw ourselves onstage at younger and younger ages? 

The data is out there to attest to how these devices and platforms are changing us physiologically and psychologically; changes we have yet to fully understand as we stand at the beginning of this Digital Information Revolution.

Take pause today and reflect on how you share your internal narrative online. How has that impacted your perception of self? How has it impacted the perception others have of you? How has it impacted how you perceive others? How has it impacted your life as a whole?

actions to take

Reflect upon your own internal narrative. Where does it come from? What does it impact?

Think about the external influences that help shape your perception. Challenge their influence.

Have a conversation with someone about how they make decisions and work through different situations. Learn their thought process.

questions to consider

How do you share your narrative with others?
How has that impacted your perception of self? How has it impacted the perception others have of you? How has it impacted how you perceive others? How has it impacted your life as a whole?

Who benefits from the narratives you believe?

Who is the audience for your story?


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