What is your reality story?
That is, what story do you tell yourself about your day-to-day experiences?
What meaning do you make when someone texts you and doesn’t add a “XXX” at the end? Or when someone is unusually quiet around you? What storey do you tell yourself about what is going on?
When someone is late to meet you, do you tell yourself “Im not having this, they are so disrespectful!” or do you wonder “are they ok, has something happened?”.
What do you think are the pros and cons of each response?
When are you more likely to think the negative story over the positive one? Often its when we are stressed, tired, angry about something else, or like my other half, when he is hungry and there is more than one person in front of him in the checkout queue!
The unconscious mind and metaphors
The story we tell ourselves starts with a feeling and feelings come from the unconscious mind.
Try this… over the course of a day, notice all the stories you make. Notice how they make you feel. Notice what alternative story you could choose to believe and how that makes you feel. Notice the happiest people you come into contact with – what are the stories they tell themselves?
Think about it. When we go on that trip, meet friends, spend quality time with our families, we are making and sharing stories all the time. And the more experiences we have, the more stories there are and the bigger our library of life.
It might be a story about the kind of person we (or they) are. Maybe a story of how we overcame a challenge.
We experience stories in the news, social media, in our dreams, in films…
Have you ever had the experience of crying at a film you know isn’t real? Feeling emotion that your conscious mind can’t understand?
Finding meaning and solutions
The unconscious mind loves stories. Its why in ancient times we told stories through pictures in caves, and why we love the arts.
Stories unlock meaning and learning in a different way. If I said I was “putting my heart into it”, it makes no literal sense but you know what I mean, don’t you. And that’s right! Stories are just metaphors.
"Metaphor" comes from the Greek language and means “carried across” or “transferred” and in this way they offer us a new way to look at, and make sense of our world. To see it from a different angle.
In this way, we can use them to open up ideas and options. Told well, stories relate to everyone’s model of the world so we can all take a different meaning.
An example... A Game of Chess
Almost no one wins a game of chess by only moving forward.
Sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win.
The same is true of life.
Because sometimes, when it feels like you’re running into one dead end after another, it’s actually a sign that you’re not on the right path. Maybe you were meant to hang a left back when you took a right, and that’s perfectly fine. Life gradually teaches us that U-turns are allowed. So turn around when you must! There’s a big difference between giving up and getting yourself moving in the right direction again.