Our Stories Shape Our Lives!!

by Mary Ann on July 2, 2015

images (1)Stories shape our lives! I am talking about the stories we tell ourselves about other people, their motives, our children, what happens to us and so forth. These stories are written by what we think, our thoughts in pictures. I am a believer in this by experience, not theory.

In my one on one mentoring I often remind a parent that they have control over how something it is going to feel and look based on the story they tell themselves. I want to illustrate what I mean by sharing an example with you.

A few years ago, at the county fair, my husband bought a stove top grill. He was so anxious to try it out. The next day was Sunday, and we had church meetings that would take all morning. Following church we had a very important wedding reception. A DO NOT MISS event!

Knowing my husband well, I said, “Don, you won’t be able to grill chicken tomorrow after church; it will take too long. We need to come home, eat something quick, and get to the reception.” I know he heard me because he was looking at me and nodding his head. Does this sound familiar so far?

The next day, as I slipped into my last meeting, I noticed that Don was nowhere to be seen. I knew immediately what had happened. He was skipping out to go home and grill that chicken!

Sure enough, as I walked into the house, there he was grilling, sorta. The chicken was still totally raw. He had seasoned it and gotten everything ready. Then he had to heat up the grill, and he was just putting it on when I walked in. Ok, so you probably know what was running through my mind. “He never listens to me” or “He doesn’t care a fig about what I say” (interpretation – He doesn’t love me!). Needless to say, we got to the reception as they were taking the cloths from the tables.

I have had tons of experience with this idea that we shape our experience and how we are going to feel based on the pain thoughtsstory we tell ourselves. So I took control of my story and put it on hold until I could get more facts. That evening I asked my husband, “Don, yesterday I mentioned that there wouldn’t be enough time to grill chicken. I can only see two reasons that you might have gone ahead. One, you didn’t listen to what I said or two you don’t care what I said. However, I know you, and you aren’t insensitive and you do care abut my feelings, so I am wondering what the third option might be.” (There is always a third option.)

He looked at me in total sincerity and said, “Well I just thought I could do it if I came home early.” I knew at that moment what he said was true. He did think he could do it, and he was surprised when he couldn’t. By taking control of my story I saved us a lot of hurt feelings, maybe even a big fight and more importantly, the erroneous idea that he doesn’t love me, hear me or care, which would continue to color all of our future interactions.

When we control our thoughts, then our stories are better, and our results are happier.

In my next blog, I am going to give you an even better and much funnier example. So stay tuned!

Have you had experience with this idea of taking control of your thoughts and the inevitable story they create? How does using this information look in your family?

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