Our Stories vs. The Truth
When something happens in our lives we explain it to ourselves and others through our own personal point of view. We filter many of the facts naturally to protect ourselves from ugly truths – or ignore obvious gaffs in judgment. We’ve all heard Dr. Phil say it many times, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKIN?”
There are facts and there are our stories. Facts are things everyone can agree on and verify with our senses. It’s cold, it’s January, it’s 3:00 PM. Stories are another matter. “I stayed in bed today because it was too cold to go to work, my boss got mad at me for no reason and I’ll probably lose my job.” It is obvious from the previous statement that 1) this person believes “the story” as truth. 2) The consequences of this truth cannot be “their fault” 3) If the story is accepted, then the thinking behind it is valid and can be repeated successfully.
Most of us are caught up in the stories we believe about ourselves, other people and our relationships. We have forgotten that theses stories ARE stories and that we made them up.
Some stories are helpful in putting things in different perspectives, or to show there can be underlying reasons for behavior or circumstances. But many times we become tightly bound to our stories, If the person who stayed in bed on a cold January morning really believes bosses get mad for no reason – they will have a more difficult time in employment situations and may be more resistant to change.
I believe that a therapist, life coach, or a listening outside party is a good way for us to see how we created and continue to create theses stories so that we can rewrite them. Some simple interrupting questions from an outsider such as; “Am I understanding you fully?” “Is there anything I’m missing?” “Are you sure that is all there is to it?”
In our popular culture we all become armchair Dr. Phils to the circus that unfolds before us daily in the media. Brittney Spears, Rev. Ted Haggard, Sen. Larry Craig, Sarah Palin, Tiger Woods, all have their own stories that support their behavior but seem almost a fantasy when the bright lights are turned on. What WERE they thinking? They were thinking but with their filters, walls, and preconceived judgments at such high alert that facts, reality, consequences of actions, all hide in the shadows.
In the end what we really want to answer is; “What makes your heart dance?” Work towards that life.
Have a peaceful week.