Understanding our life and the exact point where we are means understanding the events that have occurred over time and led us in one direction and not another. Unfortunately, we do not always look back systematically, but we simply allow ourselves to be assaulted by disjointed and sporadic memories.
As a result, it is not strange that we often feel stuck in life or have the feeling of being lost. This lack of temporal continuity also acts as a barrier that prevents us from understanding ourselves better, understanding our values and decisions, as well as our most deeply held beliefs or stereotypes. The lifeline is a very valuable psychological technique that will help us to greatly expand the knowledge we have about ourselves.
What is the lifeline?
The lifeline is a psychological technique in which the person draws a line that represents his life and writes past events, generally moments of change and significant experiences, that marked him in some way. Through this tool, experiences are recapitulated in order to elaborate them, give them meaning and learn from them. It also allows you to project experiences in the future that are more rewarding.
How to make a lifeline?
The steps to make a lifeline are very simple. You just have to draw a line on a piece of paper and begin to include the most significant experiences in it in chronological order until you get to the present. If you do not remember the exact moment, you can make the line for periods of time, such as: early childhood, childhood, adolescence, youth, adulthood and third age.
Ideally, you should go back to the oldest experience you can remember. You should include everything from the positive to the negative facts. Everything that you remember and has impacted you, those events that have somehow made you the person you are today.
In fact, it is important that you write down everything you remember because it is likely that that experience, even if it seems insignificant, has marked you emotionally to such an extent that it remains active in your memory. Therefore, keep in mind that making an exhaustive lifeline can take several days as little by little more significant events will surface in your mind.
It is important to remember that this psychological technique does not include subjective elements or opinions, at least at first, but only the facts or decisions that we have made. Therefore, it must be written in clear and concise language. However, in a second moment the key is to reflect on these events, trying to understand their consequences on the course of our lives, the emotions they have generated and, above all, the traces in terms of beliefs, thought patterns or stereotypes that have left.
What is this psychological technique for?
The lifeline is an excellent psychological tool to reconnect with our experiences and relive the emotions they generated, which facilitates a thoughtful inner dialogue about those moments in our life that perhaps we “close” too quickly without being fully aware of their psychological impact.
This technique allows us to understand why we are the way we are. It helps us organize our vital information by assigning a place to each event. In this way we can become aware of significant events that we have probably overlooked but that have marked us to the point of continuing to drag their consequences.
This psychological technique also allows us to reassess our decisions and experiences in the light of the present. This reassessment should not become a “reckoning” to recriminate ourselves but rather an act of learning that helps us make better decisions for the future. It is about learning from our history to build a better tomorrow.
The lifeline also serves as a kind of prism that allows us to verify the ephemeral aspect of problems and conflicts. It helps us to assume a psychological distance to better face current problems. We realize that there is no evil that lasts a hundred years and that everything passes, although when we are in the middle of the storm it seems terrible and eternal.
In fact, we can also use it to change our focus. When we are going through a difficult period, the lifeline can help us focus on the positive emotions that we experience at other times to free ourselves from that knot of pessimism that keeps us paralyzed or suffering unnecessarily.
However, the life line could also reveal latent conflicts that we have not resolved or problems that we continue to drag because we have not had the courage to solve them. In fact, this psychological technique does not necessarily have to span a lifetime. We can set time limits or even focus on the evolution of a specific sphere, such as the workplace or partner. A more specific lifeline allows us to better represent the situation in which we find ourselves to trace the causes of a specific problem and to be able to solve it. Therefore, it can also be a very useful troubleshooting tool.
Finally, this psychological technique can help us uncover some of the most ingrained beliefs about ourselves, those that operate below the level of our consciousness but that often guide our decisions. For example, a life line might suggest beliefs such as “I am a failure” or “nobody loves me.” Or it could reveal harmful behavior patterns to us, such as continually procrastinating in decision-making or a tendency to shy away from our responsibilities. Understanding those “shadows” is the first step to changing them, building the life we want, and becoming the person we want to be.