Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Changing the Stories we Tell Ourselves

The stories we tell ourselves matter. The can change everything in how we see a situation.

The way we fill in the blanks about an interaction with someone can impact our relationship with them without them ever knowing what happened.

The videos we replay in our minds as determine why someone reacted the way they did can change all our future interactions with them and they'll never know what's driving the change.

We go through life with missing information, left to fill in the gaps. And we fill in those gaps based on our past experiences. Often, based on the worst of our past experiences.

It's how we're wired. When we don't have all the answers, we try to fill in the blanks. We tell ourselves stories to explain it all.

Often, these stories are dangerous. Because we don't usually assume the best about people in these stories; we assume the worst and react accordingly. In doing so, we can cause serious harm to relationships, or to ourselves.

I ended up in this place myself recently. I had an experience where the way I filled in the blanks in a way that was harmful to me. It wasn't so much that I damaged a relationship with someone else. But, I took what happened, and filled in the blanks in such a way that I wasn't worthy or adequate to be in the role I was in with this happened. I was heading down a dangerous path.

What if we learned to stop ourselves?

What if we started asking for more information so we could fill in those blanks accurately?

What if we started to change our thinking about others?

What if we started assuming people are doing the best they have with what they have, instead of the worst?

I believe that would change everything in our relationships with people. It will take courage to do so thought. It will require intentionally from us. We'll have to be intentional about stopping our usual thinking and changing it. We may even have to have the courage to ask for the missing information from people so we can fill in the blanks correctly.

But, I think it will be worth the cost.

In the situation I was in where I had filled in the blanks with the wrong information and was heading down a dangerous path, I had to make that choice. I had to choose to reach out to people who could help me change the story I was telling myself. It wasn't easy. Often, just admitting out loud the story we've been telling ourselves reveals how ridiculous it actually is. But, I knew I needed to, so that others could help me to write the story correctly. As hard as it was, in the end it was worth the cost.

Are you willing to start making this change?

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