Our Stories Shape Our Lives – Part 2

by Mary Ann on July 10, 2015


Do you ever feel like you do everything and everyone else in your family just sits by and watches! I know that feeling well. Last week I shared an example of how powerful our thoughts and the stories they create are in the happiness we experience in life. Today I want to share another example.

Currently there are two adults that live in my home, me and my husband, Don. Even though our children are out building their own lives, I am still taking care of most of the “family” stuff. I do most of the dishes, cook most of the meals, do most of the cleaning and all of the laundry.

Recently I decided that I needed a bit more help. I discovered that if I would put the laundry in a basket on the couch Don would get it folded. We had a conversation about meals and he determined that he would cook on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, my busiest days. He is vacuuming more often.

In the laundry room there is a clothes hanger. When outer clothes are washed they are usually taken straight out of the dryer and hung up. Saves on ironing! The challenge is getting the hung clothes from the laundry room to the bedroom closet.

After our talk about getting a bit more help around the house I noticed that Don was not only folding the laundry, if the basket was on the couch, but that he was also taking the hung clothes to the bedroom closet. That is, he was taking his clothes. I observed this phenomenon for quite a few weeks.

downloadEach time I noticed that he had hung his clothes in the closet and that mine were still in the laundry room I would feel a slight twinge of irritation. After all, when I hung the clothes in the closet I would take them all, his and mine. After a few months I began to feel something besides irritation.

It was easy to begin to allow thoughts such as these to enter my mind: “What, doesn’t he think that I matter?” “If he really cared he would put all the clothes away.” “Is he just trying to make me mad?” I recognized this place – story land – and I have learned that there is very little happiness there.

Take Control, Don’t Allow Negative thoughts and Stories

So I did what I have learned to do, I wouldn’t allow those thoughts to fester in my mind and I asked him about it. “Don, when I put the hanging clothes away I put them all away, yours and mine. I noticed that when you put the hanging clothes away, you only put yours away. Is there a reason for that?”

You would laugh if you could have seen the look of confusion on his face. It was priceless and he said, “Well, don’t you have your clothes in some kind of order?” Boy, I got it right then and I began laughing. My closet would have been a maze to my husband. All of my clothes are hung by color and item. My new story – he was doing me a BIG favor by not hanging my clothes.

We have more control over our thoughts than we realize. We can choose which thoughts we are going to hold in our change-your-thoughts-and-your-change-your-world-300x300minds and which ones we are going to get rid of. It takes some work, but you can learn to control your thoughts and the stories that they create.

Good Relationships Flourish When Stories are Positive

When you hold thoughts about what you want rather than what you don’t want you can improve your family relationships in some major ways. Want to read an amazing example of how one mother completely changed her relationship with a “problem” child by simply changing her mental story about him? It will enlighten you and I hope get you to thinking about your stories and how they are affecting you family dynamics.

8 Steps To Take Control of Your Thoughts

  • Identify – Begin by identifying your daily negative thoughts. Write them down. Have a notebook that you keep track of them in or try journaling.
  • Say NO – Don’t allow the thought to stay and turn into a story.
  • Rewrite – Immediately change the negative thought into a positive one. For example, if you wake up thinking, “I am so tired!” immediately say out loud something like “I am going to have a terrific day.” You don’t have to believe it, just say it.
  • Vocabulary Counts – Use positive language. Not “I am not going to yell” but “I am calm.”
  • Facts not Assumptions – If you are having negative thoughts about an experience or a person don’t make assumptions, get more facts. Ask!
  • Benefit of the doubt – It helps to believe that people are doing the best they can. They usually are even when it doesn’t look like it.

Do you want a tool to help you begin taking control of your daily thoughts? If you do, make a comment below and I will send you a handout that will get you going on the road to better family relationships.

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