Stories can be a powerful way to teach and learn life’s lessons. Parables, analogies, metaphors; whatever you want to call it, stories, whether fiction or not, based on life-truths can have an enormous, positive impact on our growth.
Internal storytelling, on the other hand, can have the complete opposite effect. When we use a story that we’ve created about a person or a situation only from our own narrow perspective, it can keep us from seeing the complete truth or even numb us to our own genuine feelings.
I recently attended a Journey workshop about depression. We learned all the components that come together leading to depression, whether we’re talking about a temporary “funk” or a long term, diagnosable depression. A key component is being stuck in our story.
I began to more clearly see my own storytelling habits; the story I’d created about a loved one, in particular. Not only was I firmly entrenched in my version of this story, I wanted everyone I knew to agree with my story!
I would find myself having an internal dialogue, with whoever cared to listen, in order to prove that I was right. I wanted agreement from those around me that this person, in fact, exhibits the disparaging behavior in question on a regular basis.
I discovered that the storytelling was keeping me stuck in a cycle of upset which only lead to me not treating my loved one very nicely. I’ve since worked hard to become more aware of what I’m doing, the stories I’m telling myself, and it’s given me a wonderfully refreshing perspective. It’s having a positive impact on all my relationships!
If you’ve listened to my BizTV Shows, you’ve heard me talk about Byron Katie’s The Work. It’s a great way to catch yourself when you may be stuck in your story. She encourages you to ask yourself these four questions:
Is it true?
Can you absolutely know it’s true?
How do you react, what do you feel, when you believe that story?
How would you be/feel without that story?
The second question always gets me because how can we truly know what another person is thinking? Is it possible? And how does it make us feel – usually upset, angry, sad, frustrated, etc. Without the story, how would we feel? For me, it’s usually a LOT more peaceful and calmer and more loving.
Check out this month’s BizTV Shows episode on story; I’d love to hear your reactions. Does The Work help you get out of being stuck in your story?