Stories shape our lives!
I am talking about the stories we tell ourselves about other people, their motives, our children, what happens to us, and so forth. These stories are written by what we think, our thoughts in pictures. I am a believer in this by experience, not theory.
In my one-on-one mentoring, I often remind a parent that they have control over how something is going to feel and look based on what they tell themselves.
I want to illustrate what I mean by sharing an example with you.
A few years ago, at the county fair, my husband bought a stovetop grill. He was anxious to try it out. The next day was Sunday, and we had church meetings that would take all morning. Following church, we had an important wedding reception. A DO NOT MISS event!
Knowing my husband well, I said, “Don, you won’t be able to grill chicken tomorrow after church; it will take too long. We need to come home, eat something quick, and get to the reception.” I know he heard me because he was looking at me and nodding his head. Does this sound familiar so far?
As I slipped into my last meeting for the day, I noticed that Don was nowhere to be seen. I knew immediately what had happened. He was skipping out to go home and grill that chicken! Sure enough, as I walked into the house, there he was grilling, sorta. The chicken was still totally raw. He had seasoned it and gotten everything ready. Then he had to heat the grill, and he was just putting it on when I walked in. Ok, so you probably know what was running through my mind. “He never listens to me” or “He doesn’t care a fig about what I say” (interpretation – He doesn’t love me!). We got to the reception as they were taking the tablecloths from the tables.
I have had tons of experience with this idea that we shape our experience and how we will feel based on the story we tell ourselves. So, I took control of my story and put it on hold until I could get more facts. That evening I asked my husband, “Don, yesterday I mentioned that there wouldn’t be enough time to grill chicken. I can only see two reasons that you might have gone ahead. One, you didn’t listen to what I said, or two, you didn’t care what I said. However, I know you, and you aren’t insensitive, and you do care about my feelings, so I am wondering what the third option might be.” (There is always a third option.)
He looked at me in total sincerity and said, “Well, I just thought I could do it if I came home early.” I knew at that moment what he said was true. He did think he could do it and was surprised when he couldn’t. By taking control of my story, I saved us a lot of hurt feelings, maybe even a big fight, and more importantly, the erroneous idea that he doesn’t love me, hear me, or care, which would continue to color all our future interactions.
We are 100% in Control
When we control our thoughts, then our stories are better, and our results are happier. In my next blog, I am going to give you an even better and much funnier example. So, stay tuned!