That’s Quite a Story!

When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new endingI hear stories often – they are told like they’re the gospel truth.

Like scientific data being relayed back to me with the utmost of certainty.

Wondering if I’m telling you a story?

I am.

And the truth of this story and the ones that we tell our selves are that they are half way between our perceptions and the facts.

Lets say someone cuts you off in traffic – what is the first thought that goes through your head? They’re an @%$&)#)@&!!! How often do you think, they must have had horrible medical diagnosis and they’re driving home preparing for the worst?

Yeah – me either. We’ve made up a story about that person and situation and we do this all the time.

What about the stories you tell yourself?

Hold on – the stuff we interpret about ourselves is the truth!

Or isn’t it?

I used to run an infidelity recovery group and more than once a first time attendee would walk into the room and they’d say “hey, you’re all good looking”. I’d laugh and ask what they expected. They’d usually say that they expected less attractive people because why would our spouses betray us if we were as good looking as we were.

That’s a story – a quickly fabricated one, but one that when you probe a bit deeper can keep us stuck.

Stories aren’t all bad, but it’s the ones that trigger us, hurt us, make us feel crazy with cyclical thinking, or obsessive thoughts – they can hold us back.

With infidelity for example the stories most people made up about their situation was that if they were enough…better looking, younger, better providers, better lovers, you name it, their spouse would not have strayed.

Those stories keep us swirling in our own stuff and don’t help us move toward our truth. The longer we’re stuck in the stories the longer they have control over us.

If one continually takes on the ‘if only I was better, prettier, smarter…” than this bad/tough situation wouldn’t have happened” the longer that shame (any feeling where we feel we aren’t enough) runs our lives and it will seep into other relationships, work etc.

Brené Brown has researched and recently published her findings as to what helps us rise after we fall in her new book “Rising Strong” and talks about how to get to the bottom of those stories so we can simmer them down to the truth, integrate that truth and keep moving forward.

The steps that help us boil down our stories

Write out your story – Shitty First Draft (SFD) – this helps us see what’s actually going on in our heads.

Like a 5 year old – don’t edit

The story I’m making up is: SFD
My emotions are:
My body is:
My thinking:
My beliefs:
My actions:

Then journal and reflect on the following questions:

  1. What do I need to learn and understand about the situation?
  2. What more do I need to learn and understand about other people in the story?
  3. What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?

More often than not there is some relief when we even take the time to write out the first draft and then to inquire more deeply about it creates clarity.

From this point it gives people a better idea of what’s really going on and perhaps if they need something to help them move ahead (boundaries put in place, ask for something etc).

Our stories are such an integral part of who we are.

Owning our stories and using them as fuel helps us really show up, know who we are, what we want and need is ultimately what makes us unique and beautiful.

The key is to own our stories, not have them own us.

This is really the tip of the iceberg – If you’d like more tools from the work of Brené Brown, I’d love it if you’d consider joining one of the upcoming Daring Way workshop series based on her books and research. Spots are limited, bring a friend and get a discount ☺. I’d love to have you join us.

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Leona deVinne