I Am a Storyteller and a Story Dissolver
I am a storyteller. I’ve been telling myself stories since as long as I can remember. You probably are too. But lately, I've learned to be a story dissolver too. Because I don't know about you, but my stories have changed over time.
Stories that started in my bedroom where I played as a child – that I’d be a journalist one day. Or a teacher. Or an astronaut. But at some point, my stories took on a different turn. They were based in my mind and focused on a character that I’d created from all the perceptions and messages that I internalized each day.
I definitely have a playlist of oldies but goody top ten themes – my “most played” stories.
I’ll never be good enough.
I’m not good at making friends.
I’m a slow runner.
He really doesn’t understand me.
She doesn’t really like me.
My body isn't made to do that.
I won’t find clients.
She doesn’t respect me.
I’ve got a weak core.
I’m not strong enough.
Over and over again, I’ve told myself some iteration of these stories.
Maybe you have your own top-ten list?
I’ve let thoughts and perceptions trigger the voices in my head that give credit to these drama-filled chapters, as many of us do.
And granted, sometimes these stories serve me. They inspire me to reflect on my own behaviors and change my own actions. They motivate me to make different choices. But on most days, these thoughts do nothing other than take up space in my heart and mind. They require their own energy and effort – and if I’m not careful – I get swallowed up by the fiction until it actually becomes my reality.
I’m guessing that you’ve experienced this at least once in your life?
Sometimes we use our stories as labels. Or as excuses. I can’t tell you how many times I said no to running with my husband or in other groups because “I’m just slower.” Or that I’ve told myself I enjoy my alone time when really, my heart wanted to feel a connection with a friend. Oh and my yoga body and core (or lack thereof)? I confront those headlines every single day.
Except that, we don’t have to be consumed by these stories.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating ignoring or avoiding your thoughts. Because trust me, I’ve tried that too. It doesn’t work. They just come back stronger in time.
The trick is to acknowledge the stories. You can even say “hello” to them when they appear. I’ve been known to smile when one of my top-ten stories shows up with all of its luggage. But the more you can dissolve the stories, the easier it becomes to switch into “observer” mode instead of falling victim to the prime-time ready drama that wants to play out in your mind.
How do you dissolve stories and thoughts exactly?
It is simple really. (Ok, not really.)
Become story dissolver.
Yes. You can be a storyteller and a story dissolver all at the same time.
My life coaching buddies and I could spend weeks and months with you to dismantle, diffuse and dissolve your stories chunk by chunk. And yes, the effort and difficulty that is required to dissolve your stories especially if you want to find flight in the fight and live a life based on intuition and intention.
But even with that work, there are ebbs and flows. And when I’m in the car...or notice my mind wandering...or see a glimpse of myself in the mirror...I ask myself two questions (based on The Work by Byron Katie).
Who am I with the thought?
As in, how do I react when I tell myself the story? How do I treat others? How do I treat myself? And how does my future look with the thought?
I notice the body sensations that come up as I think about my answers. And then, I take a deep breath. In and out.
And then...question #2.
Who am I without the thought?
Yup, the same sub-questions apply. How do I react when I cannot tell myself the story? How do I treat others? How do I treat myself? How does my future look?
I sit with those body sensations and simply notice.
In every single case, I am more confident, more open to receive and able to demonstrate more compassion to myself without the thought. And you know what? The body sensations are well...much better.
These questions have two purposes in my mind. First off, you have to get grounded and find stillness to answer. And that is never a bad thing, especially when the alternative is a fast-paced roller-coaster ride to the yucks. Secondly, this practice of questioning your thoughts builds awareness and over time – the more you question, the less sticky our stories become. It becomes easier to see new perspectives and be open to receiving what is – even if it wasn’t what you expected.
And although I haven’t completely obliterated the story for all eternity, I am able to see what is (and what isn’t) and face the circumstance with the best version of myself in that moment. And I’d rather be making decisions and taking action from that place of compassion, gratitude and hope on any day.
So...who wants to join me to become a story dissolver?
Want to work specifically on dissolving your stories and limiting beliefs one a time? Schedule a free 30-minute discovery call to see how life coaching with me can help!