The Stories We Tell Ourselves

A scenario…

You’re tasked with something at work that is for whatever reason considered urgent, important, priority number one. You’ve got the next couple of days to get it done. It caught you off guard and you’ve got a huge list of tasks to complete already. What is your boss thinking? How are you going to get this and everything else done? Well first, time to check your email, possibly Instagram and Twitter as well. 

Sound familiar? Are there times in your life when you’ve used the statement “I wanted/needed to do X, but I didn’t have time” or “I had too much to do”. 

What is often hard to realize is that the reality we live in is largely based on the stories we tell ourselves. We say this, but end up doing that instead. This is important, but that gets done first.

You see, these stories we tell ourselves can be an inhibiting defense mechanism. They help us play the victim to life, when really our outcomes are based on the decisions we make. Please understand this doesn’t apply to every situation in life. There are going to be times you simply are too busy or didn’t have enough time. But when we are experiencing external stress, let’s be honest with ourselves. What are the stories we find ourselves using to rationalize a decision that could have been made differently?

Here is a simple exercise:

Pick one thing in the past week or two that you were stressed out about. Now think of what it was that was stressing you out about this particular situation. Don’t ponder too much, simply say aloud or write down what happened. What is the story you told yourself about the situation? How could you reframe your story to empower yourself to alter the course next time?

We are all still going to experience stress. But by reframing the stories we tell ourselves, maybe we bring that level of stress from an 8 out of 10 to a 4. 

And next time you find yourself getting stressed about something, ask yourself what is really happening here? What can I do to put myself in a better position? What story will help me grow so the next time this happens, it doesn’t affect me this much?

Until next time friends, be well…