Here’s an interesting question for you…
Which scenario is the framework from which you run your relationships and life?
Is it A, B, C or D?
Most importantly– are you choosing A, B, C or D by design or default?
Let us explain…
If you’ve been getting our emails for any length of time, you’ve probably heard us talking about how the “stories” we tell ourselves can play havoc with our relationships and our lives.
Recently, Otto brought in a fascinating book called The Power of Story by Jim Loehr which gave us more food for thought about how we sabotage ourselves in all areas of our lives.
Since we love sharing ideas about how to consciously create great relationships, we’ll give you some highlights of the book, as well as our thoughts.
Loehr says that when you’re talking about the stories people constantly tell themselves, there are four scenarios… a. A good past has led to a good present. b. A good past has led to a bad present. c. A bad past has led to a good present. d. A bad past has led to a bad present.
If you look at your own life, we’re guessing that you can identify with one of these and can see the impact this story has on your finances, your health, your relationships or any other area of your life.
Although this is certainly a simplistic explanation of your life, you can probably see evidence of it.
Let’s take someone who believes that all men cheat because she has been cheated on in the past and is living with a cheating partner.
Chances are that her next partner will cheat on her unless she changes her story and unless she sees the possibility that she can have a relationship that is loving, connected and faithful.
That’s certainly not to “blame” her.
We’re just calling attention to becoming conscious of what she might be thinking and saying to herself over and over that is keeping her from what she says she wants.
What’s amazing to us is that none of these stories that Loehr talks about is no more true or valid–right or wrong–than another.
They are each just stories that we’ve concocted around our experiences and beliefs to make sense of our world.
The good news is that if you don’t like the results of your story, you can change it.
Sound too difficult?
Last night, Susie experimented with changing her story about her ability to get to sleep on nights when her body and mind are racing.
When this happens, she’s usually had a busy evening, filled with interactions with many people or it might be something simple like she’s eaten or drunk caffeine. It might even be an emotional upset.
We’re sure that you can probably relate to that feeling of lying in bed with eyes that don’t want to shut and a mind that won’t turn off.
Her old story was that since she felt that wide awake, racing feeling in her body, she wouldn’t be able to sleep for hours.
Since we had been talking about this idea of changing your story, she decided to open to the possibility that she could rest and sleep, even though she had that racing feeling.
Pretty soon, that’s just what happened.
So, if you don’t think this idea is completely crazy and want to try it, here are some ideas…
1. Start noticing the “stories” that you tell yourself and if these are supporting what you want in your life and relationships.
Notice what you say to yourself about your relationships. If you start your thought with “He or she never….” or “It’s always the same…” notice what the result is.
Notice something small like what you say when you’re looking for a parking place.
Do you say “I’ll never find a space…”?
2. Choose an “old story” you tell yourself that is limiting you in some way. Choose one that is important to you or one that isn’t. It doesn’t matter.
3. Open to the possibility that there can be another outcome and another way of looking at the situation–that one outcome is just as possible as another.
You might be able to find a parking space even though the lot is crowded.
Now of course if you’re with a cheating partner and you expect that person to magically change, he or she may not.
But what can change is how you look at yourself and what your life looks like with or without that person.
4. Write your “new story” and focus on it. Not only is Jim Loehr’s book a good one to help you with this but also The Trance of Scarcity by Victoria Castle.
A good example of writing a new relationship story might go something like this…
Instead of seeing that person as “wrong,” you can see that person as “different” from you which takes the judgment out of it.
Now of course, you still have the prerogative not to go along with this difference.
If you shift from “wrong” to “different,” you are more open to listening to the other person (and the other person is more open to you) to find out if there is any place where the two of you can meet on this topic.
If you are intrigued by this idea, we invite you to experiment this week with changing your stories.
If you do, we absolutely know that it will change your life. It’s changed ours!