The Story You Tell Yourself
Have you ever walked into a room full of strangers and a woman glances in your direction with a serious look on her face? Your brain immediately begins to list all of the reasons she is looking at you, and none of it is good.
1) She doesn’t like you.
2) She doesn’t like the way you dressed.
3) She can't believe you would wear what you have on out of your house.
4) She is thinking, "Who does she think she is?"
Because she’s looked at you with that serious look and your brain made up a list of reasons why she looked at you that way, you determined she wasn’t interested in you, and you completely avoided talking to her.
Your actions may have prevented you from meeting your future best friend.
Think about how many times in your life you have allowed what you thought about a person, situation, or circumstance to stop you.
Those thoughts your brain came up with in the scenario above are called interpretations. These are the next energy block that stands in your way of creating a life that means something to you on your terms.
An interpretation is an opinion you create about an event, situation, or experience. In essence, you make up a story, unconsciously look for evidence to support it, and believe that your story is true. Your interpretation often represents only one viewpoint among many that are possible.
If you stick with your interpretations, you have little chance of focusing on any other possibility. As a result, you may feel that you have little control over what might happen next.
Let’s look at the example from above.
You walked into a room full of strangers, and a woman glanced in your direction with a serious look on her face. Your brain interpreted her serious look as her disapproving of you, and you avoided her. Your interpretation of this situation is just one viewpoint among many that are possible.
What is another way you could look at this situation? Here are some possibilities:
She planned the event, so she's stressed out.
She's been to 100 of these, and every time some guy hits on her, so she's got her game face on.
She just found out that someone close to her is sick.
I can go on and on about with possibilities, but I am sure you get the picture.
Just realizing that there are other ways to look at something lessens the power of your interpretations.
The game changer here is to recognize that you are making up a story about the situation and challenge your interpretations.
The next time you find yourself in a situation where you are making up a story, stop and challenge your interpretation by asking yourself:
What is another way I can look at that?
What might be the opposite point of view about the situation?
When you gain clarity on what is going on, then you can decide how you want to move forward.
Do you find yourself wrapped up in your story and not able to see the other possibilities?
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