by Graca Furman
“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.” ~Tony Robbins
I am always making up stories about what others think of me or what they really meant when they made that comment. And I typically make up the worst case scenario. According to my brain, everyone is mean-spirited and ridiculing me.
This is not an uplifting way to live one’s life. The pessimistic stories I create are generated in part by my low self-esteem, and by convincing myself they’re true, I continue to fuel it. My constantly negative perceptions affect my relationships with others and overall mood in a harmful way.
I recently experienced a huge breakthrough in regard to this aspect of my thought processes. I am a huge fan of Dr. Brené Brown’s work and recently read her newest book Rising Strong. One of my biggest takeaways was this one phrase that will improve your relationships: “The story I’m making up…”
Why We Make Up Stories
As humans, our brains make up stories. We automatically search for meaning. If there is a lack of information, then we will try to fill in that gap.
Studies have shown that we like stories to make sense or fulfill a pattern, and we will use our own experiences as reference for this.
Brown actually says that research shows we get a dopamine hit when we recognize a pattern. Our brains especially like it if the story can give us more insight into how to protect ourselves and secure our survival.
This is why we make up stories to explain why bad things happen. If we know the cause, next time we can plan accordingly to avoid the situation altogether. Unfortunately, even though we honestly believe them to be true, the stories we make up are usually at least somewhat inaccurate.
This is where the phrase, “The story I’m making up…” works to clear things up in our interactions with others.
How to Use It
“The story I’m making up…” can be used in times of struggle or conflict with another person. Perhaps a co-worker quickly changed the subject after you expressed a concern about a project. You can use this phrase to say, “The story I’m making up is that I’m being dismissed because my opinion is not valued.”
Or maybe your significant other flipped on the television when it’s supposed to be date night. You can say, “The story I’m making up is that our relationship is not a priority to you.” It is an effective tool that can be used in family, friend, work, and romantic relationships.
Recently my husband and I were arguing. He shared his feelings with me, which is often challenging for him. Because I know he really appreciates physical affection (and I struggle to give it), I chose to pull him into a hug instead of responding verbally.
Read the full article at Tiny Buddha
About The Author
Grace is a writer and blogger at Heartful Habits. Heartful Habits is a place of inspiration for what Grace calls living mindfully and heartfully. She loves learning and sharing wellness tips, natural remedies, healthy recipes, beauty DIYs, homemade green cleaners, social issues, and more. You can find out more by subscribing and following Heartful Habits on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.