The Stories We Tell Ourselves
In this post I’m going to share with you how you can begin to determine how you can manage both your internal and external experiences to create a greater sense of fulfillment in your in life and in business.
But first I have to give you some background so you can get a firm understanding of how important this tool, called a story, can be.
Why Are The Stories We Tell Ourselves So Important?
Because the quality of the stories you tell yourself everyday determine the quality of your current and future experiences.
The stories you tell yourself determine how you internalize the events around you and the people you interact with.
When you tell yourself disempowering stories about yourself and what you make the world mean to you, it’s like living in a black and white world devoid of any color.
[note color=”#7893d6″]The stories you tell yourself represent the meaning you assign to ways of the world and the people in it, Including yourself. So make them good stories that support you and those around you. YOU assign the meaning of what happens in your world. When you assign meaning you do it through “stories” you tell yourself.[/note]
If you’re telling yourself stories that cripple you:
- It costs you quality relationships between family, friends and spouses
- It costs you your quality of health
- It keeps you living small and not taking chances (even well assessed risks)
- It can cost you money
- It can cost you time which you’ll never get back
- It costs you your overall quality of life and keeps you from having meaningful experiences
When you begin to understand you talk to yourself in stories and you realize the impact of those stories you begin to see the world in full 3D color. Your behavior chances because your outlook on life changes.
Your outlook changes because you changed the stories you tell yourself about you, others and the world around you.
What Is “Story”
Look at story this way.
Beliefs are made up of emotions.
The beliefs you hold onto are propped up by the stories you tell yourself. Those stories become emotionally charged. You can see why people hold fast to their beliefs. They are highly invested because their identity is essentially attached to those beliefs.
If they give up their story, they give up their identity and that my friend can seem like some scary shit.
Unless of course you put a plan in place to replace the broken story with a new one.
The stories you tell yourself represent the meaning you assign to ways of the world and the people in it, Including yourself.
You are the one who assigns the meaning of what happens in your world.
This perspective gives you much more control over you’re own emotions and direction in life. Owning this perspective allows you to align yourself with the role of being the cause of what happens around you rather than being at the effect.
You see, you’re constantly telling yourself stories about the world and the people in it. Through these stories you reinforce what the world means to you, the experiences you have in it and what you believe.
The stories we tell ourselves determine our destiny.
When working with someone I can tell when they’re stuck in their story. They have been telling themselves a story which then is fueled by emotion and that reinforces their belief. The belief could be utter bullshit but it’s an open loop that started years ago. They never asked themselves what the belief was costing them and what sort of benefit they were gaining by keeping it.
Imagine this for a moment. If you said you want to be happily married with a wonderful spouse and eventually two beautiful children within the next 5 years, yet the story you told yourself is that you’re too overweight for anyone to find you attractive, you’d never reach your desired outcome.
Your behavior to overeat and not exercise would be fueled by the story that you’re too overweight to be found attractive. Worse yet you settle for mediocre relationships which reinforce your sense of non-worthiness.
So an example which is near and dear to my heart would be this:
[note color=”#7893d6″]Women like men to be taller than them. All women like to date tall men. I’m short, so therefore no women would really want to date me.[/note]
As you can see this is a bit of a ridiculous story to tell ones self. Yup, it’s a story I used to tell myself at one point. As ridiculous as it may sound there are little stories like these we tell ourselves everyday.
- I’m too overweight for anyone to find me attractive, so why bother trying to date? I’ll just make myself feel better by eating (for immediate gratification)
- I’m too broke to date right now so I’ll just wait till I have money before I do. (but to reinforce the belief you remain broke)
- I hate my job and feeling like a prisoner of it but I don’t have what it takes (money, skills mindset) to start a business of any kind.
Stories are predetermined by the questions we ask ourselves. Our brain asks a question and we tell it a story in order to answer it. Even if that story makes no real sense except to support the story.
So the question I would ask myself is:
[note color=”#7893d6″]Why is it women even shorter than me seem to want to be with men twice my hight?[/note]
Which I did encounter several times, (I’m 5’4) and women even shorter than me were clear they wanted to date men over 5’10 or taller.
So the conclusion I came up with was all women must always like taller men.
Um, yeah. total bullshit.
So in essence the quality of questions we ask ourselves determines the quality of our destiny. If I held onto that belief I’d never be in a relationship.
Ask yourself better questions, tell yourself better stories and begin to live a more fulfilling life.
So the bottom line is it was necessary for me to come up with a better story.
How Do You Tell Yourself Better Stories?
This is a very high level overview and doesn’t go into many of the details that are necessary however for general purposes it’s still very helpful.
Each of these area’s below I’d suggest you take a piece of paper and write down your current perception or story you’ve developed around each one. First take a look at the major area’s of your life and ask yourself what’s your story around them:
1. My Self
- Self Worth
2. My Family
3. My Love Life
4. My Work
5. My Friends
Now take a look at your stories around each area and examine them honestly with an open heart. What is your current story around each one and is it costing you the results you really want your life to be demonstrating?
When I ask, what is your story costing you, I mean what is it you’re having to sacrifice to hold onto the belief your story is supporting? Is it costing you fulfillment, satisfaction, love etc in that area of life?
You may discover that the story you’re holding onto is standing between you and the behaviors that will actually lead you toward your desired outcomes you say you want but don’t actually follow through on.
Now at the same time you have to realize you’re gaining some sort of benefit from holding onto your story. We tend to love to hate change in our lives. We crave certainty as much as we crave diversity. Never the less there is something you’re gaining from keeping the same behavior in place around the story.
Next, it’s time to create a new story around these areas that supports the proper behaviors. Next to each item ask yourself, “What story would I need to tell myself in order to move closer to my desired outcomes?
Is this new story in alignment with my current values I have in place?
Then make a separate list and ask yourself, “What are the costs if I don’t adopt this new story and what are the benefits when I do?”
Now reverse engineer the story and decide what questions you would have had to ask yourself in order to come up with that story. Much like I did in my example above.
Determine one area of your life you would like to improve upon.
Ask yourself what kinds of stories you tell yourself around it. Write them down.
Reverse engineer it and ask yourself, “If that’s the story I’m telling myself…What’s the cost of owning this specific story in my life right now? And also, what am I gaining from holding onto this story?”
The stories you tell yourself represent the meaning you assign to ways of the world and the people in it, Including yourself. So make them good stories that support you and those around you. You and you alone can assign the meaning of what happens in your world in such a way you’re supported.
If after reviewing the area’s of your life you feel you’re not doing that area justice with the story you’re holding onto, give yourself the gift of a new story. The benefits can be immense.
- You can gain deeper more meaningful relationships with family, friends and spouses.
- You can create more opportunity in business or career
- And you can even go deeper into your spiritual practice once you give yourself permission.
Leave your comments and feedback below because I’ll personally be replying to as many as possible.
What are your thoughts on the stories we tell ourselves?