3/9/2016: Stories

The Stillmotion crew is still here filming a documentary on @jasondoesstuff, and with their presence, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about stories. Not necessarily the ones other people tell about us, but the ones we tell to ourselves.

Have any of you read @brenebrown’s book #RisingStrong? There are so many fantastic nuggets in it but the one that I’ve used in my everyday life the most is this phrase: “The story I’m making up is…” In the book, Brené talks about the mental gymnastics we often do to connect the dots when something makes us feel hurt or slighted. When we feel pain, our human brains try to make up a story to make sense of the emotional chaos. Trouble is, these stories aren’t necessarily true and yet in those moments, we deeply believe them to be true. It can cause us to make decisions based on all sorts of things we’re telling ourselves: He didn’t call back because I’m not pretty enough / They didn’t buy my art because they can see I’m a fraud / My daughter’s teacher didn’t ask me to chaperone because she thinks I’m an irresponsible mother / And so on into a downward spiral of self-doubt and shame.

Just two nights ago I used this phrase with Jason and it was such a powerful tool for communication. Instead of getting overly defensive in response to him asking about the forgotten laundry in the dryer, I said: “The story I’m making up is that you don’t think I contribute enough around the house. That I’m not an equal partner to you.” That phrase allowed me to diffuse my defense mechanism and just be honest about what I was feeling. #RisingStrong teaches that to unravel these stories we need to CHALLENGE them. To get curious about why we’re connecting the dots in such a way. To “reckon” with our emotions.

Stories our powerful, but the MOST powerful (and sometimes most destructive) ones are the ones we tell ourselves. Make sure yours are rooted in truth by challenging them.