One of the most unsettling findings of modern psychology is that we often don’t know why we do what we do...We have a conscious self, of course, the voice in our head, but this conscious self has little access to the parts of the brain that are the actual sources of judgment, problem-solving and emotion. We know what we’re feeling, just not how and why we got there...we also don’t want to admit how little we know about ourselves, so we make up some story, or confabulation.
Mary Pipher, the legendary therapist and author of “Reviving Ophelia” ...prefers “what, when, where and how” questions: When do you notice feelings of inferiority? Basically, she wants clients to become closer observers of their own behavior.....Maybe the best way to see yourself is to get out of the deceptive rumination spirals of your own self-consciousness and to think about yourself in the third person...Dan McAdams, the Northwestern scholar who specializes in how people tell their life stories...doubts that we can ever really know why we do anything, so we are compelled to fall back on narratives or what he calls “personal myths.”...some stories are better than others. Stories that are closer to “what really happened” are more reliable than ones that are distorted by self-flattery and self-affirmation... Americans, McAdams has found, tend to tell redemption stories...I was rising, I faltered, I came back better.
Lori Gottlieb, the author of “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.” She also sees therapy as a form of story-editing. But she is much more optimistic that we can actually get down to the sources of our behavior...You have to understand the “why,” so you can recognize the behavior when it’s happening again and address what’s causing you to behave as you do.
Epley, the "Mindwise" author, stressed that we can attain true wisdom and pretty good self-awareness by looking at behavior and reality in the face to create more accurate narratives, and highlighted the importance of humility in life... recognizing that we don’t have privileged access to our minds, toneing down our self-confidence and realizing don’t know other people as well as we think we do.”