I’m more interested in the stories others tell themselves…
I’m all to familiar with the stories and things I tell myself. It’s the stories other people around me are telling themselves to behave the way they do.
The person who doesn’t like me? What story do you tell yourself?
The ex who has been mad at me for two years post-breakup? What story do you tell yourself?
To the person who does not chose me? What story do you tell yourself?
But, the larger idea at hand, is that I fully acknowledge and know that people build a story that fits the narrative to justify how they feel or to justify their actions. And I may not like it, but I manage my feelings in reaction to these things. The actions and feelings of others are not mine to manage.
If I try to do so, I’m doing the opposite of what I’m trying to accomplish. But I can sit here and feel good knowing that when I come into conflict with someone like the above mentioned, I recognize they have told themselves their own stories. Stories they believe and act accordingly upon those beliefs.
Just like I do.
I’m not immune to this either.
I’m not perfect AT ALL! I am still learning and growing, but recognizing and understanding this has helped me sleep better at night and (slowly) helped me let things go easier. I’m an extreme overthinker. If something doesn’t sit well, I’ll probably replay a conversation in my head five times and I will also play scenarios of future conversations in my head too. See, unhealed.
But I know we only have control of our own emotions. I can only control how I REACT to my feelings. I CANNOT control my feelings. At all! I can set boundaries and those who don’t respect them will show how they feel in response to them.
I also am practicing what therapy taught me. Sit with the feelings. But beyond that, sit with them, feel them, but then be kind to them, try to understand the, and ask questions around them. If that sounds hokey to you, then I hope you think about it. For me, the first big jump was to sit with the feelings. The next hurdle has been to question them, understand why I was so angry with a message, why I was so sad about hearing something, or annoyed at something I read online.
What about the things I’m experiencing are related to past trauma? They definitely tell the story of who I am, but not who I want to be. I’m happy I have this tool at my disposal now. I didn’t prior to therapy (and a couple good books). The hardest part is trying to explain this to someone who doesn’t want to grow or understand how I process things. I get it, not everyone wants to be on that journey.
If this topic intrigues you, there is a great Psychology Today article, “The Power of Emotion Mindsets,” that calls out exactly what I’ve been talking about:
The stories we tell ourselves about our abilities change the way we interact with our emotions when we face challenges
So for now, I’ll just let people, not like me, be angry with me, and not chose me. And I will still remember my worth, who I am, and not change to be liked. Because in the end, if these people were supposed to be in my life then they would embrace every ounce of me, not the opposite. So, I’m better for them teaching me lessons I wouldn’t learn on my own. It doesn’t always feel good, but it feels good knowing I can take the stories they are telling themselves and grow through it because their story has nothing to do with me, even when they project it onto me.
Grow in the woman I am supposed to be. She is me, and I am her.