We tell ourselves a wide range of stories each day. These differ depending on the emotions we are feeling at that particular moment. Some stories are about ourselves, the reason we do certain things, the reason we are the way we are. Other stories involve those around us, what we think they are like, and why we think they are like that.
How are these stories created? They are created from what we see and hear. We observe what happens around us, and then summarise it. We summarise it into a story. We take a bit of what we know to be true, and then the rest of the story is filled in with scenes from our imagination. As a result, our stories are mixed with both reality and fantasy.
We all do it unconsciously. Have you ever watched people in public? We see people, but we only see a small part of their lives. We observe their appearance, their body language, who they talk to, what they say. Their appearance tells us about their interests, their body language tells us about their mood. With these little details and more, we unconsciously start to create a story about them. An explanation for what we can see.
Some of the stories we create impact us more than others.
Why? Because sometimes we inaccurately judge what we see, and this results in the creation of fictional events and fictional characters. And, when you try to guess what another person's life is like, it's only natural that you'll compare that person's life to your own.
You see someone with nice clothes. "Oh they must be well-off or rich, they must have such a nice life." You see someone with a group of friends around them, laughing, seemingly having a good time. "Wow, they must have no problems in the world, I wish I was that confident."
But the problem with the stories we tell ourselves is that sometimes they are only half of the real story. When we try to fill in the gaps based on what we see, those gaps end up being filled with details that don't exist. We've created a picture that's not even close to the original.
There is always more than meets the eye. It's important to be self-aware and notice whenever those stories start developing in our minds. Step outside of yourself for a moment, and realise that the story you have created is not a true representation of how things actually are.
One thing I've noticed is that our stories tend to downgrade our lives while putting the lives of others on a pedestal.
How about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves?
They sometimes include thoughts such as the idea that we are confined by our circumstances, our DNA, our environment. These stories are usually even more subtle than the ones we tell ourselves about others.
These stories are explanations for why we shouldn't worry about trying too hard for what we want, because we tell ourselves our goals not actually attainable.
It's a cycle of trying to comfort ourselves. First we tell ourselves that we might not get want we want, then we try a little (but not hard enough) to get what we want. Finally we come to the conclusion that we were right in believing it was impossible. A lot of the stories we tell ourselves mask a deeper issue or are the result of being overwhelmed by fear.
Some stories go even further. We tell ourselves that no one really likes us, and we might even come up with a whole story line of why we are un-likeable. Then, when someone shows a genuine interest in us (and does find us likeable!), we stumble back, and are hesitant to accept their love. We try and work out how it's possible, since it isn't part of the story we've created.
Stories have a beginning, middle and end. We all have a story we tell ourselves about our past, and it's relation to our present. We also all have a vision for our future, what we expect it to be like.
We either allow past events to dictate the future of the story we tell ourselves, or we view things a little more optimistically and we consciously decide to re-write the future how we want it.
What you think about yourself matters. The stories you tell yourself matter.
Each of us has the power to create positive outcomes for ourselves by telling ourselves positive stories. What do such stories involve? Such stories involve the idea that good things do happen to us, that if we work hard we will see good results, and that if another person can do it, we can too.
By switching negative stories with positive ones, we can empower ourselves and those around us, because when you start thinking positively, you become more encouraging in your speech and actions too.
Pay attention to the stories you tell yourself. Make sure that you're filling your mind with the sort of thoughts that will help you grow and flourish rather than those that hurt and hinder you.
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