I don’t know about you but I love a good story. Stories have tremendous power in our lives though we don’t always realize it. We often turn to them for encouragement, understanding and insightfulness about our journey as humans. But just as story has the power to build us up and make us feel courageous and hopeful, so too can it send us spiralling down into the abyss of fear, anxiety and shame.
Story can be dangerous, especially when built upon false perceptions.
Earlier this week I got a message from a friend who I haven’t heard from in a long time. Life’s been busy, we live in different parts of the world, we both have families and, well, it happens right? People lose touch. Anyway, as I read her message I felt sad for her because it became increasingly obvious that she had been torturing herself with a fabricated story about her lack of self-worth and lovability and that this must be the reason why she had not heard from me. She had created a story that was driven by emotions and the need to protect herself when it couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Brené Brown, in her book, Rising Strong, says that in the absence of data, we will always make up stories: “It’s how we are wired. In fact the need to make up a story, especially when we are hurt, is part of our most primitive survival wiring. Meaning making is in our biology, and our default is often to come up with a story that makes sense, feels familiar, and offers us insight into how best to self-protect.”
Robert Burton, a neurologist and novelist explains, “Because we are compelled to make stories, we are often compelled to take incomplete stories and run with them… We earn a dopamine ‘reward’ every time (our stories) help us understand something in our world – even if that explanation is incomplete or wrong.”
What do we call a story based on imaginary or limited real data that’s been blended into a coherent but emotionally driven version of reality: a conspiracy theory.
The most dangerous and crucial stories are the ones that we tell ourselves or make up that diminish our inherent worthiness, lovability and what is possible for our lives. How many times have you told yourself a story about something that was utterly false? I know I catch myself doing this often.
In fact, I recently found myself in a funk where I was daily feeding myself a whole lotta negative sh*t. But then I sat myself down, got quiet and reflected on what was really going on. It turned out I was making up some crazy stories about my abilities, or lack thereof, to keep myself from feeling vulnerable because I was afraid.
What about you? Are you currently believing a conspiracy theory about your abilities, lovability or worthiness? If you regularly experience feelings of fear, shame or anxiety then it’s likely this is the case. The challenge is to go inward and wrestle with these false stories so that we can set ourselves free from our limiting beliefs.
I do this with my patients all the time and I’m excited to walk you through this same process in my upcoming course, The Peaceful Woman Practice. It’s time to bust through all those false stories that are keeping you feeling unworthy, fearful and anxious, and instead see the infinite love, possibilities and opportunities that surround us at every single moment.
‘Cause let’s be honest, the best stories are the ones when the hero or heroine find the courage within themselves to raise above the ordinary and push past their fears to claim the full potential within themselves.
Now that’s a story I can write myself into. How about you?
P.S. Find this blog helpful? I’d love for you to share it with a friend or better yet, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
P.P.S. I’ll be sending out more info about my upcoming course The Peaceful Women Practice shortly, but in the meantime click here to get on the waitlist so you can get all details and know the moment it’s available. I can’t wait to share it with you! ✨😘