(The) Faraway Nearby: #A-Z Challenge
“We think we tell stories, but stories often tell us, tell us to love, or to hate, to see or to be blind. Often, too often, stories saddle us, ride us, whip us onward, tell us what to do, and we do it without questioning. The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them, and then to become the storyteller.”
I’ve always vowed that I don’t have the imagination necessary to write fiction. Maybe I need to rethink that because I’m sure able to tell myself some pretty wild stories.
Do you do that? Do you tell yourself the story of why that guy cut you off in traffic (because he’s a jerk)? Or why your friend didn’t get in touch about the day you were supposed to spend together (because you’re easily forgettable)?
The stories we tell ourselves are not necessarily fiction (the guy might have been a jerk), but they often are (there is no way you are easily forgettable).
We need to be able to step clear of our stories. This is especially important on those occasions when we get stuck inside them and repeat the same negative messages over and over.
4 Ways to Work with the Stories We Tell Ourselves
- Notice: Without awareness, no change is possible. So notice what you are paying attention to, what story is running in your mind.
- Feel it: Don’t act on whatever your story is telling you.Just sit and find the location in your body where you are feeling a physical sensation. Describe the sensation to yourself and then breathe until that sensation loosens.
- Narrate: Distract yourself from a story that is obsessing you. Describe out loud whatever you see in the environment around you. Whenever the story comes up in your mind, acknowledge it, and return to your narration.
Don’t believe everything you think.Byron Katie
- Inquire: Byron Katie has a four question process she calls The Work. The questions are: Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without the thought?
To do a proper job of aging, I think we have to work with the stories we tell ourselves. But it’s difficult. I’m in the very earliest stages, just trying to notice and feel.
How about you? Are you aware of the stories you tell yourself? What helps you to be aware?