We are all marvellous story-tellers, blessed with the ability to make things up and to use our infinite imagination to bring stories, movies and myths to life. At our core, this is one of our most powerful qualities: the stories we tell are capable of creating healing, connection and love as well as separation, disconnect and fear.
However this innate quality of ours tends to runs amok within our minds, creating wild fantasies and dramatic verses to even the most benign of situations.
From the minute we are born, we are busy writing our own story. We direct our own life movie: part action blockbuster, part horror flick or part romantic tearjerker.
We add layers of beauty, of sadness, of despair, of fear. We glorify, we vilify, we intensify. We oversee, we add, we embellish.
There can be a million reasons why and a million ways of doing so. Often, it is a subconscious affair, triggered by our assumptions and beliefs and occurring in the background of our consciousness.
We may try to win approval, validation, love. We may be wanting to avoid facing the truth, the negativity, the pain. Or we attempt to point the finger away from ourselves, to avoid the blame, to relieve our despair.
Sometimes we simply because we cannot remember the details. And so we make up our own version and the truth gets diluted, distilled, distorted. To fit our own inner stories of sadness. To reinforce our fear. To justify our anger.
Recognising this gives you power. The power to witness and really see yourself. The power to catch those internal habits, those underlying assumptions and those unloving thoughts.
It also gives you freedom as you begin to unravel the thread of your own internal story. You start to see the movies, the fairytales, the myths you've been making up. You start to see the events of your life as they really are, instead of how they fit your own movie.
How can you begin to recognise your stories?
Learn to observe your thoughts:
In order to begin to see the workings of your mind, you must first take a step back from what is going on inside. Practice becoming the observer of your thoughts, give them space to enter your mind and leave, without getting wrapped up in them. Meditation is a great way to begin to put some distance between you and what comes through your mind and body.
Notice what triggers you:
Often, external situations, comments, other people can trigger our stories. Notice your reaction to people, circumstances, or words. It may be a physical impulse (for example to run away), an intense feeling in the body (maybe intense sadness), or a rush of thoughts.
Write down your reactions - even the most childish:
When you get triggered, take note of all the thoughts that pop into your mind, even the most childish, judgmental ones. These are gold for understanding what stories lie beneath them. Bringing all those thoughts to your awareness will help you create some distance with them, and they also lose their power and impact once they are expressed.
Understand what assumptions lie beneath:
Once you can see what your most common thought patterns are, you can begin to unravel the stories. Question whether it is a genuine thought or one that comes from society, your family, or the people around you. Then dig a bit deeper and ask yourself what have you may have made up or assumed about yourself, others or the world. In other words, look for all the internal lies, stories and myths that you have created or taken as truth.
Now it’s your turn: bring yourself back to a recent situation which triggered you, then use the steps above to understand what stories or assumptions lie beneath. Then leave a comment if you want with your findings.
Love & Health,