That does sound interesting and on first look doesn't seem possible. Seriously - I know I had a bad day the other day - my boss yelled at me, or I forgot Mum's Birthday or whatever the situation. Facts are facts right?
Well, not really so. We have minds that we utilize only a small part of.
I'm not here to argue or prove scientifically about any of this - I just know what I know through hard earned experience.
Facts are facts, but it's how we perceive those facts that make the difference.
I can go into a story about how my boss judged me incorrectly and he didn't give me the benefit of the doubt and I was only following orders or the list can go on for as long as I choose.
The real crux here is how I feel about what transpired. I can choose to make it a tale of hardship or I can see it with different eyes.
I can beat up on my boss or more often than not - myself and the end result is that I feel awful.
Replace any scenario here - it doesn't matter. Forgot to pay a bill, lost my job, had a car accident........
I can play out a story of the idiot behind the car and I'll feel vindicated for a while... and then I'll likely feel like - ' 'and now I have to get the car fixed and how inconvenient', or 'I can't afford this' or 'how am I going to get to work or pick up the kids or play my sport' or 'who do I have to ask a favour of' or 'I don't have insurance'.... ...... the list goes on.
By no means are any of these easy to get your head around. And can be very disruptive. BUT - far easier to deal with if you aren't already beating the drum of all the bad and negatives and churning over the challenges and creating a difficult story. Make it a story that has uplift or silver lining. The challenge might be finding that silver lining. There will be one.
Let's go back to the boss yelling at you.
there's another way to look at this and change the 'story' in your head. The boss is having a bad day and has lost 'it' and taking it out on you. Not fair, but we are all human and prey to all manner of things that impact us.
The boss has just learned he has a serious illness? the boss had his boss yell at him and taking it out on the nearest person? The boss is a DH and doesn't know a good person when he sees one!
All of the above scenarios have NOTHING to do with YOU.
How do you feel when you look back at the day and the boss yelling at you when you put these filters in - the ones where you have nothing to do with the boss yelling at you.
Makes a difference doesn't it. Takes the angst out of it and allows you some peace.
Lets say you may have had something to do with it - I don't condone the boss yelling at all... mental note - yelling is not acceptable - but this isn't about the boss, it's about you..... and maybe how you can improve on what you're doing and why there was even a need for the boss to make mention of something. How does that change the story.... the story is now about you seeing what you can do for you to help you be a better person. Life can be boring without challenges and growth. Imagine the same day - every day, no challenge, no gift - just the same. Groundhog day. Fun for a bit - but eventually boring
You have a few choices here.... you can keep re-telling the story (any story you want to have here) and build up a long list of angst and misery and feeling bad about yourself and the boss and co workers and life and the job,.... it can really be quite a masterful set of scenarios you play out.
Or you can look at it and see that we are players in a play - trying to do the best we can and the story can have a happy ending just as it can have a sour ending. You can chose the ending - all 'facts' being the same - you chose the ending. Make it one where the emotional charge for you is nothing or minimal..
You are the captain of your ship / master of your universe / director of your play / story teller of the past.
Shakespeare said it so well -
A real story. Compiled by a few different stories from a few friends to protect the privacy of those involved other than myself. The essence is the same; The meaning is the same; The outcome is the same.
I'm divorced. I spent years wondering what happened. Why did he do what he did. What did I do to deserve such an outcome. Where was my white picket fence and happy every after. Did I say or do something that tipped him over the edge. Who was influencing him? On and ON........ and on....
I do think this is a female thing - I don't think MEN spend so much time trying to understand the mechanics of it all. A blog for another time!
I tried throwing out his stuff.... writing oodles of pages about how I felt, therapy, rearranging the furniture, crying. yelling, punching pillows.. revenge dates and yes - it all helped.
But the hurt never really went away. Years later and the hurt was still there.
Until I realized that I could change the story - HE didn't DO THAT to me......I was in a play and yes I had expectations, but the play was done and dusted and I could move on. I could go home and buy tickets to a new play - with new actors and scenarios and I could make my life happy again.
First step was to acknowledge the hurt I felt, the suffering* that I felt
next step was to let it go.
Yes, the facts are the same, but the story doesn't have the emotional charge it once had. My story now is that stuff happens and I don't always know how it came about, but I have the reigns and can choose a different way of looking at it. A way that I'm not the victim nor the perpetrator on my life. We are all doing the best we can with what we have.
In time, we do get clarity as to why it happened (in most cases) but we can't spend our lives looking for that validation. Far better we let it go and get on with things that make us happy. Live each day as if it was your last.
I've come to see that we really don't know what that means .... it's just too hard to let go of the fear of the 'what if's '
but we do try. And sometimes that is the best we can offer. And the thing that counts the most is our 'INTENT'
If it's our INTENT to do the best we can - then that is what counts and will often get us over the line.
There are physiological reasons why keeping the 'story' alive is detrimental for us. Each story has created a set of neural pathways. Each time you relive the story, you actually fire more neurons along that neural network and keep it activated. Every time you think about it, every time you re live it, every time you reference it..... you keep it more alive. And in keeping it alive - you also feel the emotions connected to that experience. You create a new loop inside the brain that triggers the similar emotions.
That scenario happened long ago. You think you've forgotten about it. You're having dinner with an acquaintance , someone you haven't seen in a while perhaps. The conversation is fine but you feel like something isn't quite right. They're getting a bit angsty, raising their voice a bit about something that happened to them or maybe making suggestion about what they think should happen or what you should do. You respond in a way that you think - 'why did I say that'? or 'why did I get so uptight'?.
It is possible that you are responding to the same threat you felt when your boss was yelling at you. It's not even the same scenario, but you realize that your response is potentially not proportionate to the conversation at hand. And yet - there you are? What happened?
The 'story' that you've been replaying in your head has been triggered. The brain doesn't always know if the players in the script are the same as the previous players. It just knows the story is sounding familiar. It evokes similar emotional responses unbeknownst to you.
If the story had a happier ending, then the same story might replay in your neural pathways - but you could shrug it off and not have the emotional response towards your acquaintance as you had before.
* Suffering : Meaning "to tolerate, or "allow something to occur or continue"
is recorded from mid-13th century.
It has somewhat a different meaning today! :-)