The stories we tell ourselves…
The stories in our heads can bring us joy, sadness, happiness or anger. They can determine whether we get in a fight with our partner or leave a job. We all have stories in our heads. For example, when someone cuts you off in traffic, you may tell yourself they’re an asshole. However, what if they were rushing to the hospital because their kid was in an accident? When you get upset with your partner, they didn’t put away the dishes or do the laundry. You could tell yourself they are inconsiderate and you do all of the work around the house. However, maybe they had a hectic day and are upset with themselves because they can’t help as much at home.
These are just two examples of the many stories we create in our minds about others and ourselves. When working with clients, I tend to hear, “I can’t do _________”. The blank may pertain to starting a new habit, taking a cold shower, running a race, or any personal goal I am helping them accomplish.
A negative mindset does not get us anywhere and is another story you are telling yourself. The key is to notice when you are creating these stories, limiting yourself, or creating friction with others. Once you are aware of these stories, you can choose to listen and act on them if it truly serves you or push past it and make changes. This is easier said than done, but once you become the observer of these stories, you can learn to let them go. One technique I use with my clients is to teach them to listen to their bodies when they feel these stories. You usually start to feel these in the gut, chest, heart rate, or other bodily sensations. Once the sensations appear in our bodies, these stories creep into our heads and snowball. You can’t stop the mind with the mind. You must use the body. If you’re willing to do the work, you can learn to reframe these stories and not allow them to control your life.
I challenge you to listen to the stories creeping up: the good stories and the bad. We are story-telling creatures and we can allow them to serve us or hold us back, but the first step to changing the stories you don’t want is awareness.