Have you ever had the experience of doing something that others interpret way different than you intended?
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and I began to wonder how often I tell myself stories that just aren’t accurate?
A few years ago, my best friend and I suddenly stopped speaking. Out of the blue, radio silence. Here’s my experience: I reached out to her several times, leaving voicemails, texts and finally an email asking what I’d done to bring this on. Here’s her experience: She received and email from me expressing I no longer wanted to be her friend.
So what was the reality? I don’t know. It took several years of feeling hurt, sad and betrayed before I reached out and invited her to my 50th birthday celebration. She courageously accepted. (She actually thought I’d mistakenly invited her!) When we got to the bottom of what happened, we both threw our hands up in frustration and disbelief.
It seems we’d each told ourselves a story about what happened; created a whole lotta stuff, complete with inaccurate details and beliefs. Luckily, we managed to put it behind us and we’re closer than ever now.
But what about these stories? What happens at that moment when we begin to create something that’s not really there? How are the stories we’re telling ourselves serving us? Is it human nature to assume things? Patterning? Or is it a defense mechanism we use to avoid sitting in the discomfort of the unknown or allowing ourselves feelings that are difficult?
I catch myself sometimes. Something will happen that upsets me and I start filling in the blanks with all sorts of possibilities, as if they’re truths. And I notice how my body shifts into tightness and an anxiety descends on me. It’s not a good feeling, which should be a clue that I’m heading in an unhealthy direction, full of inaccuracies.
And even with that awareness, there are times that I can’t seem to stop myself from buying into untrue thoughts. And I proceed down a path that is of my own creation.
I do this sometimes with our finances. I’ve had a hard time navigating the fine line between denial and remaining hopeful and optimistic. It’s very easy for me to shift into fear and lack mentality because I’ve made myself believe we’re going to go broke and have to live on the street, even though in actuality, nothing in our experience or financial situation has changed. I’ve simply bought into the story I was telling myself.
I’ve heard my Spiritual mentor say “If you’re going to future fantasize, why not do it in the positive?” I love that idea. First of all, it reminds me that I’ve fallen into my pattern of story telling. But it also reminds me of a larger issue- that we create our own experiences. How I chose to respond to events in my life determines my experience. I have a choice. So if I’m going to go down the path of future fantasizing, why not do it in the positive instead of the negative. At least that way the experience will be much more enjoyable.
So instead of worrying that we’ll be broke out on the street, I allow myself to imagine our family in an expansive, beautiful house, basking in financial prosperity and abundance. As I do this, I find that the tightness and anxiety in my body lifts and is replaced by feelings of being open and hopeful.
So next time you catch yourself upset because something happened, maybe stop and just allow yourself to sit in the feelings and discomfort of the unknown.
If we can avoid going down the path of telling ourselves a story and instead focus on faith and trust that everything is unfolding perfectly for our Higher learning, we may just find that life becomes simpler and much more pleasant.