The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Some people think that they are not very good storytellers, that it is not their thing. When they are relaying some information, they would like to communicate in a way that is straight to the point, without any unnecessary details. And other people absolutely love to tell stories. Any little question you would ask them will shift to a long and colorful tale…🙂

Apparently, each one of us is a really good storyteller. Even those of us who think “I don’t do stories” are doing an amazing job of telling them. And the stories I am referring to are the ones we are telling ourselves, making a judgment without having all the facts and jumping to conclusions.

I know it might sound confusing to some of you, so I will give you a few examples.

Let’s say you have prepared dinner for you and your husband for a special occasion. You chose his favorite meal to prepare. You went to the grocery store specifically to get the ingredients to cook this meal. You spent a lot of time cooking, set the table, made yourself extra pretty for this special occasion.

He was supposed to be home at 6:30. It’s 6:45 and he is still not there. What are your thoughts? Well, you can think that he just doesn’t care. Or you can think he chooses to stay at work late to avoid this time together.

It’s 7 pm and he is still not home. You tried calling but he didn’t pick up. What are you thinking about now? That he just doesn’t love you?! Or that he went after work to a bar with his buddies. And, of course, there is the thought that destroys your inner peace completely: he has a mistress!

You have been driving yourself crazy for one hour thinking all the worst possible thoughts. And then he shows up… Some will come to their husband to ask if everything is ok, but many would start yelling at him without even giving him a chance to explain.

In this case scenario, the husband might have been very offended by his wife’s attitude, and they just stop talking for a while and blame each other for all of their mishaps in life.

And what actually has happened, as the wife will find out later on, he was rushing to get out of work and his boss gave him a new assignment at the last moment. He explained to his boss that he really had to go and continued a conversation with him on the phone. He got stuck in traffic due to a terrible accident on a highway. And on top of everything his cell battery died due to him being on the phone for a long time with his boss.

But of course, none of this came across his wife’s mind when she jumped to these sudden conclusions of why her husband was late. And, interestingly enough, none of the stories were positive. She didn’t think that he was late because he was getting her flowers.

Another example would be when two co-workers happened to get into a heated argument on Friday. And as a result, they were angry at each other. And each of the co-workers is thinking the worst possible thoughts over the weekend.

“Everyone will be against me on Monday…” “What if it leads me to getting fired because I said something negative about my boss to this co-worker…”

 “I will feel humiliated next week…” “He/She is preparing an evil plan and it would feel like ‘slow and painful death’ being at work…”

And then these co-workers come to work on Monday, make a joke and patch up their relationship like nothing ever happened. Did any of these ever happen to you? Or some kind of similar situation?

You get the idea of these stories that we create for ourselves. And by doing so, we are often poisoning our lives. And when I am saying the word “poisoning” I really mean it, because the quality of our lives really drops at that time.

We are making ourselves angry, surrounding ourselves with fears and negative emotions… And for what? How are we benefiting? Is there anything good that comes out of this?

And for some of us, it’s a lifestyle. This is how we handle each event and situation in our lives, by coming up with the worst possible fantasy as an explanation for what happened. Nothing good can come out of living this way. Not only are you giving up the quality of your life, but you are also giving up your health due to all of these negative emotions.

Does this sound familiar? Do you or someone you know lives this way? Do you want to change or help them to change?

The first step to resolve this would be to become aware of the problem. And sometimes it will be all that is needed to change this behavior. One you are aware that you are about to indulge in an unwanted behavior – eliminate it!

But for the most part, more will be needed than just awareness. Once you become aware, you will need to create another story for yourself. Like in the example above with the husband, instead of thinking that he doesn’t care or has a lover, create another positive story for yourself.

But before you create another story, you need to shift your state of mind to a positive one. And you can do this by closing your eyes, and by thinking of a positive moment from your life that you have experienced as a child, or as a parent, or any happy moment in your life. Feel this moment like you are in it right now. Feel what you have felt then, hear the things that you have heard then, smell the smells, see everything that you saw then. Spend about a minute in this state. Then find a couple more happy memories from your past and do the same thing as above. This will definitely shift your state of mind.

Now that you are in a positive state, think of three positive stories for every negative story that came to your mind or were about to cross your mind. Do this exercise every time you jump to a negative conclusion. The idea is that you train your mind to think optimistically.

If you are one of those people who easily shift to a negative side, you need to practice being positive. Just by implementing this simple exercise into your routine, you will drastically improve the quality of your life.

Your life is what you make of it.

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” Marcus Aurelius


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