Earlier this week I had a student come to me with an issue that was tripping her up at work. As she relayed the story I found her sharing viewpoints and perspectives, not of just her first-hand experience but of all the other “characters” in the story as well.
We’ve all been there but one example might sound like this “And I know she was thinking ____ after he said that to her about me.”
Two things were in play here - one assumptions and two, story making. We humans are really good at both. Some of you may even be experts in this area. You know you’re an expert if your thoughts about other people and what you think they’re thinking, make you a little batty. #beentheredonethat
I could see why this gal was feeling pretty miserable. The assumptions being made and the subsequent stories produced were rough, hurtful and did nothing but undermine and cut her down.
She asked what she could do to get some relief and the antidote I shared, I learned from the fabulous little book “The Four Agreements.” The antidote to assumptions (let’s catch things before they become stories) is to simply ask questions.
So instead of believing that someone is thinking something about you, show up, be honest and ask questions! For instance, author Brene’ Brown suggests we speak with the person we’re “story building” around saying something like “I bet you’ve noticed I’ve been a little off the past week or so at the office and that would be true, you see the story I’m telling myself is that Sally has been filling your head with untruths about me after she and I had a falling out and I’m concerned you may be believing that, if so, it makes me sad because I want to keep our friendship intact. Any clarity you could provide would be greatly appreciated.”
The magic line? “The story I’m telling myself is…” Poof! Honest, to the point, offering the other soul the opportunity to confirm or completely blow what you’ve been assuming and story producing on, out of the water as a mere fallacy. Perfect!
In this week ahead, when you find yourself smack dab in the middle of producing your next “short story” or “epic novel”, I hope you will keep this post in mind and give YOUR poor mind and heart a break.
Be honest. Ask questions. Whether you “like” the answers or not, knowing the truth is key to deciding what to do or not do, next.
Score one for putting the pen down.
Score one for stepping away from the keyboard.
Score one for peace!