I’m coaching a lot these days, which means I get to hear a lot of stories. That’s what we do as humans, we tell stories.
When we tell ourselves stories that serve us, we can make all our dreams come true. But oft times, we tell stories that cause us pain, and keep us stuck and miserable. Only, we don’t know we’re telling a story. We think we’re just relaying facts. We’re just telling how it is.
Before I found life coaching, the stories I was telling myself were causing me a lot of pain. I thought my circumstances were causing the pain. I thought people in my life were causing me pain. And because I couldn’t change the circumstances or the people, it felt hopeless. I didn’t know how to get out of the pain. I didn’t know how I could go on feeling so much pain all the time.
Do you ever feel that way?
Do you have circumstances in your life that are out of your control?
Do you have people in your life that you wish would behave differently?
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck?
I was coaching a client yesterday. She told me this big dramatic story about something that had happened with her friend. This incident had happened a week ago and she was still stewing over it. It had been taking up all her brain energy for an entire week. When she got done with the story I said “So, it sounds like your friend asked you some questions.”
She sat silently for a few moments while it sunk in. And immediately everything changed for her. A whole week of mind drama solved in less than 30 seconds. All I did was pull the facts out of her story.
It doesn’t usually happen this quickly, but it certainly can after you’ve been doing thought work for a while. Once you truly understand that your stories are optional, you can create whatever kind of life you want.
Do an experiment for me.
Think about a problem you’re having. Empty your brain out onto paper. Write down every single thing you can think of about this problem, one sentence per line. Now go back through it and circle only the facts.
What exactly do I mean by “fact?” If there were 1000 people in a room, all 1000 people would agree on it. It could be proven in a court of law. It doesn’t contain any adjectives or adverbs. It’s totally neutral.
Everything else on your paper is just a story. An optional story. If the story isn’t getting you the results you want, toss it and write a new one.
What story do you want to tell about this fact?
What story would make you feel differently?
What story would get you a different result?
At this point, some of my clients are a bit skeptical. “You want me to just make something up?” I’m not asking you to change the facts. Facts are facts. But everything else was just a story, remember? You made it up.
Your brain is going to fight you on this. It’s going to try to tell you your story is reality. But it’s not. It’s a story you made up. Because that’s what humans do.
Why not rewrite the story in your favor?
Here are a few examples from my life to get you started:
Old Story: Marriage is forever. Something has gone terribly wrong. My life wasn’t supposed to go this way.
New Story: It was always meant to happen this way. It’s just part of my journey. It helped me become the woman I am today, a woman who will help thousands of others because of those experiences.
Fact: My kids spend 50% of their time with me, and 50% of their time with their dad
Old Story: My kids are at a disadvantage going back and forth from house to house. This is going to ruin their lives.
New Story: My kids are having the exact life experiences they are meant to have to become they people they are meant to be. This is the perfect life for them.
Fact: My husband made a decision about his child.
Old Story: My opinion isn’t wanted or needed. He doesn’t want me to be their mom. He doesn’t think I’m a good mom. He doesn’t want us to be a united family.
New Story: My husband loves me so much he keeps me out of the drama with his ex. He didn’t marry me so his kids would have a mom in the house, he married me because he adores me and wanted to spend the rest of his life enjoying my company.
Rewrite your story. Choose to believe it. Just decide. It’s totally up to you. And it will change your life.