Many of us are hurting ourselves with our own painful stories about what the people in our lives did or didn’t do that we believe is unfair or unjust. We perpetuate our own emotional pain by believing and re-telling these stories to others around us who sympathetically agree with us and perpetuate this turmoil.
What I have come to appreciate in my own coaching journey is that the (insert any friend or family member that you believe has caused you pain, ________) can never cause you emotional pain, but rather we hurt ourselves by the interpretation of the events that occurred.
I have seen in myself and in my clients the tendency to feel so justified in the upsetting story and the need to prove it try by telling it passionately to other people who we know will side with our version of the events and thereby proving the painful story true.
The irony is that when we do this, we end up hurting ourselves. The person we are mad at is never at the effect of our upset feelings.
What I challenge myself, my clients, and you to do is to be willing to be wrong about your own story and your interpretation of why the event occurred. Challenge yourself to come up with an alternative explanation or interpretation than the one that your brain comes up with on default.
Be willing to question, inquire, and think outside the box when you believe someone treated you unfairly, poorly, or unjust. WHY?Because when you tell the story the other way where you were done wrong, YOU ending up hurting yourself emotionally with this story.
I often challenge my clients to be willing to be wrong about their story first before asking someone else to change theirs.
Let’s say a family member appears to be more generous to another family member and you feel that it is unfair and rude and the person doesn’t love you as much. Guess who ends up suffering in this story? You!!!
This doesn’t mean that you don’t communicate with the person, but what I challenge you to do first is to come up with an alternative explanation to explain events so that it changes the way you interpret the events, and thereby your new interpretation could lead to new thoughts, and in turn, new feelings.
In other words, make it mean something that does not disrupt your day.
I find that my ego often fights for my initial interpretation and subsequent reaction, but I remind myself that I will end up hurting if I continue to believe this version of events. When I am really able to come from my higher- level self, I try to find ways where I may be thinking in ways that are inconsiderate, unfair, or unjust. This is often very humbling.
This isn’t easy because we were not taught to react in this way, but I have found it so much more empowering.
Take your control back by telling stories and interpretation of events that serve you. Maybe the other person did get it wrong. Maybe they had a bad day. Maybe it wasn’t their best work. Sometimes our best is awful. Take control back by what you make it mean.
Challenge yourself to be wrong about your main thoughts- even for a few hours. You can always go back to the default story at any time, but the alternative story can feel so much better. I promise.
Have a great week.
If you want freedom from a painful story that you have found difficult to let go of, please schedule here now: https://mindyourstrengthcoaching.as.me/