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Why storytelling can stop us connecting…..and getting better.

Posted by | November 04, 2018 | anxiety, BWRT, hypnotherapy, Uncategorised | No Comments

As humans we are brilliant storytellers. From telling stories to children as they settle down to bedtime, to re-ounting stories of work politics, and sharing coffee whilst we tell stories of our lives. We read people’s stories on social media, we listen to adverts and read articles in the newspapers…. in reality,  we listen to, and tell stories every single day.

Which can often be a huge reason why we are living in a world of assumptions and presumptions and missing the truth….. and so often avoiding accountability and responsibility for our part in the reality of life.

Look at these examples….

Person A reads a statement on social media and takes a dislike to it, presuming it it about them… they block person B and tell their friends about the negative comments written about them…

Person C is in a relationship with Person D, they see person D changing their behaviours and when asked Person D refuses to respond, person C assumes that they must be guilty.

Person E is a chatty and happy person, their social media posts are positive and display a life which is picture perfect, people don’t like her happiness so delete her from social media – person E is has high functioning anxiety and believes that all people hate her.

Person F wants to do the best by everyone, often stretching themselves beyond the possible to meet their needs assuming that people will not like them if they do not help. They realise that people are using them for what they can do and when they slip into a state of depression feel that they have nowhere to turn.

Sound familiar? Perhaps you are one, or know one of those people? Perhaps one of those people sounds like someone who matters a great deal to you but perhaps you have never connected that their behaviours and actions are linked to a feeling which is different to the one interpreted.

Think for a moment when the press reports a story how quick people can be to report it as fact….. for it to come crashing down a few weeks later….

Assumptions and presumptions can destroy people, connections and lives… 

The reality is, that we only ever know ONE side of the story, and when we ‘tell’ our side of the story over and over again we refuse it to become our truth.

Our brain loves stories, our brain, when it repeats something over and over again, will embed that within our pathways and allow us to repeat it as often as required. It can also be our biggest LIMITATION.

When we tell our side of the story repeatedly we lose the inquisitiveness of desire to know what really fits the gaps, instead we FILL the gaps with our own version of the truth.

Our stories can therefore keep us trapped in anxiety, depression, worries and catastrophizing. They can keep us isolated, sad and hurt.

The reality?

There is no truth if we only have one side of a story – we have an ASSUMPTION or a PRESUMPTION that we have made a CHOICE to use. 

Which is why two people can have experienced the same situation and have a completely different interpretation of it.

Our assumptions and presumptions often occur to help us heal an uncomfortable feeling. For instance, whether it is:

  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Sadness
  • Grief
  • Anxiety

We will be driven to seek a response to FILL OUR GAP to make us feel better. Our brain wants to protect us, and to make us feel better is therefore one of it’s goals. So, in many situations we will GUESS, PREDICT, ASSUME what the other person was thinking, feeling, doing, believing in order to COMPLETE OUR STORY.

However OUR story is 9 times out of 10 a complete lie that we then share with friends to convince them that it is also the truth. When we receive validation for it, we then conclude it to be truth and secure the version that we have created. Naively omitting to seek out the reality.

When did you last seek out the other side of the story when someone told you that something has happened?

As social media appears this scenario has grown, frequently we will hear friends, family members of strangers talking about what a particular person has ‘done’ ‘is doing’ ‘said’ ‘commented’ etc etc from the perspective that their see. We watch alienation occur as individuals make grand assumptions and make malicious comments, harass or delete/block individuals who may have done nothing wrong. The reason? They heard ONE person’s side of the story and FILLED in the gaps with their own ASSUMPTIONS.

We can thus see how dangerous it is to decide that the version we heard is truth. Whilst in some cases the consequences may be that a person is forced to read lies about themselves, ignored, deleted from social media or blocked from platforms. In some cases these situations can lead to harmful thoughts, actions or awful consequences. The individual who listened to the story often oblivious to the harm of their actions or beliefs.

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children today is to teach them to seek a WHOLE story. 

Teach them to look at the bigger picture, to look at the facts and not to FILL IN THE GAPs. To seek out the other side of the story. To sit with their friends after a fall out and talk it through and look at the story from both sides, not just one interpretation.

The greatest gift we could give ourselves is OPENMINDED-NESS to look beyond our own story and consider if our assumptions may be lies that we have told ourselves. (After all to assume makes an ASS of U and ME). 

To remember that sometimes our stories are LIES that we tell ourselves to give ourselves comfort. That sometimes we are NOT correct and that we may be listening to someone else’s interpretation without looking at the FACTS. To consider the impact of our actions, whether on social media or in real life. To seek out truth and BOTH sides of a situation before we take action or make choices. And if we can’t? Have the mindset that we only have OUR side of the story and cannot presume what the other person is feeling or reacting to.

Consider a friend that you miss, a family member who has vanished, a work colleague you watched leave without a word…. do you REALITY know the TRUE story? Or did you fill in the GAPS to appease you peace of mind and make yourself feel better?

Is it time to find out their side of the story and speak your FACTS and see if the outcome is what you really PRESUMED? 

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