I’ve been thinking a lot about my stories lately. The simple ones I tell myself to make quick sense of what’s going on in my life. I looked up the definition of a story, and comically, it’s both defined as “a statement regarding the facts of a situation” and also “a widely circulated rumor.”
Not sure why but thinking of my recent stories as rumors makes me laugh. Rumor has it “you’re an insensitive jerk.” Rumor has it “I hurt you, and you’ll never forgive me.” Rumor has it “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
I don’t mean to make light, especially if the stories you tell sound similar. I know these can be painful to live with when they often feel like fact. Like THE truth and THE way it is.
I laugh because when I step back to consider that my stories, by definition, might just be rumors “widely circulated” by my beautiful, well-intentioned, bless-its-heart mind, they seem less black/white, good/bad, right/wrong.
Try it for yourself.
What if the stories you’re telling about your husband, your boss, the woman at the office, the annoying neighbor, that a-hole on the road, and most importantly, about YOU, are – in fact – rumors?
What if they’re not confirmed? Not certain? Possibly without fact? Made up. Fake news. Courtesy of your mind.
Mildly amusing or not, this is one case where fake news is great news! Because it means you’re in charge. You’re the author. You decide what’s real. And what isn’t.
You claim your right to what’s true. True for you. You claim your real story. But this time, it’s “a statement regarding the facts.” Your facts. Not anxiety’s facts. Not your father’s or mother’s facts. Not society’s facts. YOURS.
Try another one. You’re working on a screenplay to tell the story of something you’re going through, and you’re the lead. The producers want 3 versions of the story, one of them with you as the villain. Think Choose Your Own Adventure. Go.
What’d you come up with? Who are the supporting roles? What happened when you were the villain? What about the hero?
It’s a tough exercise. Coming up with multiple storylines, so different than the one you’ve rehearsed, researched and gathered evidence to support is hard. You so believe that one. It feels so true and certainly like the only version the producers will buy.
But it’s not. It’s a version, and if it’s simple, black/white, and you’re for sure the hero and your a-hole boss is for sure the villain, then it’s probably more rumor than fact. And your shame, anxiety or anger started it.
Simple, single-version stories are our brain’s way to protect us from threats, keep us safe from harm, and help us make decisions that keep us alive.
But there has to be more to life that just staying alive and out of harm’s way. There’s got to be more than black/white, good/bad, you’re wrong/I’m right. Those storylines are fine for a children’s book or Hallmark movie but I want the good stuff. The real stuff. The heart stuff.
And where there’s heart stuff, there’s hard stuff. So be it.
If a little hard stuff is what it takes to see things differently, consider alternative ideas, put myself in your shoes, and come up with new stories to solve old-feeling problems, I’m in.
And I hope you’re in too. Because if you are, you’re in for freedom. From anxiety, a chronic overthinking brain, relationship gridlock, and staying in survival mode. True freedom.
With freedom, comes options. And more choices. I know you want choices. Choices in how you look at what’s happening in your life. Choices to respond rather than react. To gather more information than one story provides. To get more data so you can solve more problems.
And you get this by dispelling the anxious rumors and getting past the single-version, simple stories that keep you stuck, anxious and lonely.
Start telling different versions of the stories of your life. Start questioning what you think the facts are. Stop looking for evidence to build your case.
The freedom, peace-of-mind and connection you’re looking for is in your hands. Your mind rather. It’s in your stories. Choose them wisely.
Curiously waiting to hear your story,