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Are You the Hero of Villain of Your Story?

When you are about to do something new, what stories do you tell yourself? Do you imagine that wonderful things are about to happen or do you tend to imagine all sorts of things that could go horribly wrong? I was really good at weaving tales of doom and gloom and I told myself I was just trying to be prepared in case things didn’t go well. It never occurred to me that I was inviting disappointment and frustration into my life by focusing on the negative.

One of the things I have learned in my study of Fearless Living® is the importance of how I talk to myself. Before Fearless Living® I would usually imagine things going poorly, people behaving badly toward me, and in general just assuming the worst. I beat up on myself all the time, pointing out every mistake or shortcoming, thinking that this constant fault-finding would motivate me to do better, to try harder. It didn’t work, it just left me exhausted & discouraged. I didn’t realize it was the stories I told myself that were draining my energy.

Here’s something else I didn’t know: our brains don’t like gaps; if we don’t know everything about something, the brain will automatically start filling in the gaps. Our brains are really fast, so fast sometimes it may be hard to know when it is processing information and when it is making up stuff. Becoming aware of this tendency was my first step to taking control of my self-talk which helped me stop being my own worst enemy and becoming a true friend.

When I catch myself spinning tales of woe, I start one of my favorite exercises: the Best Case, Worst Case, Most Likely Story. What I do (and encourage my clients to do) is look at what is coming and deliberately make up three stories. The power of this exercise is in going all out with the Best Case and Worst Case scenarios. By really making a conscious effort to make the Worst Case as horrible as I can, I usually take it so far it becomes ridiculous so I end up laughing. By taking the Best Case as far as I can, I spend time picturing myself in a really wonderful position which makes me feel good. I often laugh at that, too, and it’s a positive laughter, not derisive. Then the Most Likely brings me back to center and I am ready to approach the unknown in a positive state of mind.

Rhonda Britten suggests, “If you’re going to make something up, why not make it good?” It’s like downhill skiing; I was told to look at the path, not the trees, because I would go where I was looking. Telling myself good things and focusing on my effort keeps me motivated and encouraged.

Are you with me? Are you ready to make yourself the hero of the stories you tell yourself? I hope so. If not, give me a call; perhaps I can help you learn to write positive stories about you. What have you got to lose besides a bad attitude?