Have you ever been reality checked?
Have you ever been hell bent on your version of an event and then found out you were wrong?
How did that make you feel?
Silly. Stupid. Small?
You know what? We make up stories more than we’d like to think. And you shouldn’t feel silly, stupid, small because everyone is just doing the best they can with the knowledge they have.
I was under my covers last night, with my iPad. My two year old had his feet on my back and even though it was just him an I, I had about an inch of the bed. My back and neck have been killing me this week because of an egoic yoga injury (I pushed myself to do more than I could) and I am paying for it. I was uncomfortable, a little bit cold and slightly resentful that he was there again.
But I couldn’t move because I was gripped by the book I was reading, Brene Brown’s Rising Strong. In particular, a sentence that she references as life-changing, mind-altering and love-giving.
In a vulnerable moment with her husband, Brene took a deep breath and said (and I paraphrase) , “The story I am telling myself is that you brushed me off because of the way I look in my speedos and because I can’t swim like I used to, I’m getting old.”
There was no reassurance from her husband who was battling his own insecurities and struggling to tell her what he was really thinking, which was, and again paraphrasing, “Later when we take the kids out on the water with the boat I don’t know if I am strong enough to save them all if we get into trouble and you will think I am weak for believing that.”
Mars VS Venus right?
But that story I am telling myself line really resonated with me because I see it played out constantly in my marriage. My amazing husband often looks at me incredulously when I tell him what I am really, really thinking. I am ripped open and vulnerable as reams of self-doubt, insecurity and feelings of not being enough come to the surface.
And he’ll say something like, “But I was thinking about work the whole time. I didn’t realise that because I was so off-hand this morning, you thought that it meant our marriage was over, had been weighing the benefits of counselling vs divorce all day and that only three glasses of wine could help you off that ledge.”
And then the story changes.
“He thinks I’m an alcoholic, neurotic, nutbag – obviously.”
But no, that is the story I am telling myself because I am not letting my heart crack open wide enough to let his love in. Because in this moment the ultimate story I am telling myself is that I am not worthy of love.
That depth of understanding is horrifying because I will immediately start criticizing myself, “Who am I, with my great family, amazing friends and loving husband to think that I am unlovable?” when what I need for myself, right at that moment, is intense self-compassion. I need to give her a giant hug and figure out what is I need or has been depleted in me to be feeling this way.
Do you see?
We are doing this to ourselves. All these stories we are telling ourselves are trying to protect us from the ultimate vulnerability of saying what we really think, what we really mean and come back to our own worthiness.
What are we not giving ourselves that we really, really need? Other people can’t give this to us.
Do you need to set boundaries? No I won’t be on that committee because I will sit there the whole time resenting the time it takes away from my family, fun stuff and you. No I can’t do the dishes tonight, again, because I will sit there and seeth that you should have done them. Yes I will be going to yoga, I understand that that inconveniences you and I am sorry, but we need to start wanting allow each other to do these things, without resentment, for our own happiness.
Do you need a little more self-care? Are you feeling unlovable because you haven’t spent any time on yourself? Not got your hair done, bought any new clothes or made an effort? Haven’t exercised, spent time alone or gone out on a girls night?
Do you need some perspective? When we tell ourselves these stories, the scariest, most vulnerable thing you can do is tell another person the story you are making up and get their take on things. When you start a sentence with, “The Story I am Making Up is….” it gives other people permission to see the other side and talk it through with you. If you tell them what you think then they feel that they have to be either with you or against you.
Cracking ourselves open is intensely frightening work but the reward is happiness, openess, and a new understanding about life.
The question, “The story I am making up…” gives us permission to be free from the constraints of our mind and get some real awareness about who we are.
It also lets us get to the crux of what is hurt within us, what is wounded, what needs to be addressed so that we can move forward.
Stronger than ever.