When things go haywire and life takes a scary, irritating, messy turn – how do you talk about it?
Do you dwell on the drama and despair? Or do you tell a story about how you can figure it out and thrive?
What is the story you tell?
When we’re caught up in what feels like a negative circumstance — a divorce, job loss, illness, or even just an irritating incident, it’s easy to draft a negative, dramatic, victim story around it. This gives our bad-news story energy and makes it feel real and insurmountable.
Often it’s the story we tell about that hard stuff that makes it even harder.
I thought of this a lot when I was diagnosed with melanoma. I knew that how I talked about the experience to myself and others would go a long way to determining how well I managed it in the real world. If I told a sad story about sickness and despair and anxiety – I could create that in my life. Or, I could stick to the facts: I had a malignant mole removed from my knee. That’s all it was. I didn’t need to speculate about outcomes or deconstruct all my fears about the future, time and time again, by telling stories about it. I felt some stress, but didn’t dwell on it or create a bad-news story around it.
Instead, I took a realistic look at what I needed to do to heal. Then I created a good-news story around that. I visualized how I wanted it to go. In my plot, I ( the heroine naturally played by Nicole Kidman) would overcome every adversity with panache, power and really good hair. The experience would teach the heroine greater compassion, it would help her become a better writer and land her on Oprah to talk about how people can transcend even the toughest times. THAT was the story I told myself.
Our stories influence our beliefs and those are the thoughts that determine our reality. Every time. Whether the beliefs are true or not, we often act on them and that creates tangible outcomes known as our lives.
If you’re telling scary stories, you’re likely to get some scary outcomes in your life. But, you can revise your story at anytime. Here’s how:
State what is – without judgment or opinion or projection. Just say what happened.
Drop the blame. Leave out all the bad things you feel about what happened and why. End the drama. No need to go on and on about how overwhelmed you and how nothing will be right again. It’s not true. And if you’re going to be making things up, go for the plot that propels you into a bright future.
Create the new story line. Write the story how you want it to be. Have fun with this. Play. Imagine the clothes you’ll be wearing when you get your new job. (Check out those shoes, girl.) See all the money falling out of your new designer purse. Experience the energy and that beautiful complexion that comes from the vibrant health you will enjoy. Feel the love from all the wonderful people in your life and reflect on the learning and all that you gained from the adversity. Notice how resilient you are. You can bounce back from anything. Imagine it all. Not only will you feel better, but surprising things will happen.
When we imagine our life how we want it, (visualization exercises are a powerful way of doing this and something I’ll be writing about Wednesday) the Universe (including your unconscious beliefs) shifts to make it happen. A positive story line leads to self awareness, inspired action and powerful intention. Those are the things that make fantasies come true.
So, what story are you telling?