Part 2: How to Tell a New Story, follow up to "How Venting could be Holding you Back"
Last week I talked about how venting, and telling your annoying coworker stories (or any other kind of emotional story) over and over again may actually be bad for you.
We vent because we feel.
I get it. Feel the feelings. You’re not wrong to feel what you feel. It's okay. Just don’t live in it. Process and move on.
For more on this subject read "How Venting could be Holding you Back".
Hopefully now that you know the secret I shared in part 1, you are a little more aware of these stories and how they make you feel.
To refresh your memory step 1 is Ask Yourself:
Is this something I want to keep living over and over again?
If I don’t want this, then what do I want?
What would make it feel better for me?
What needs to change?
You probably already know this, but you cannot actually change the other person…I know, shocker right? (Tell this to my ego. No matter how much I know this to be true, sometimes my ego still forgets.)
But what you do have control over is how you perceive the situation, and what you choose to do about it. - Everything is a choice.
You are not a victim to your circumstances. You always have choices, even if they are really hard to see. They're there.
Side note: If something feels heavy and hard and you feel like you don’t have a choice in it, take it as a sign that you are going the wrong way. These feelings signal that you are going against the path intended for you.
Here’s the Good News:
You don’t have to leave your job or pack up the car and move away in order to change this. That’s right!
You do not need to uproot your life in order to feel better now.
You can do this by simply shifting your perception.
And that is Step 2: Rewire
Making a conscious choice to shift your perception is the key to changing the loop in your story.
Let’s look at the example of Gratitude.
Imagine you wake up to coffee on the beach with a beautiful sunrise on the first day of your beach vacation and you start to feel that pure sense of gratitude for just being there, in the moment. Grateful for all of the things that led you to that moment.
The feeling of gratitude overflows inside of you and pretty soon you are smiling ear to ear. And more things to feel grateful for start to flood your mind: your kids, your family, your amazing friends that have your back and make you laugh.
Are you there with me?
Feels good, doesn’t it.
What happens next: your RAS (Reticular Activating System, see last week's article) cranks up to show you more of what you are experiencing.
Remember this concept from part 1, it simply acts as a magnifier to show you more of what you are focused on. It has no sense of good, bad, right or wrong. It just shows you more of what you are thinking about.
Following our coffee and sunrise on the beach example, the RAS is going to show you more opportunities to be grateful. Win, win. And the day is filled with endless fun, beauty, and good vibes…with one catch, and it’s a biggie.
I'm not talking about your ego as in how you perceive yourself.
I'm referring to the ego as the part of your brain that is there to keep you safe (and pull up as many worst case scenarios as possible in order to do so).
Naturally, your ego is going to have something to say. This is normal.
The trick is that you can get really good at not letting it take over the loudspeaker in your mind, ie. your focus.
And that my friend, is rewiring.
Let’s use it in our beach vacay example.
You get the kids dressed, pack all the one hundred and ninety two things, and head down to the beach. Everyone is super excited. You get your spot set up and start to relax. Your eye spots a jellyfish washed up on the sand and the cries of the ego set in…must warn the kids…and that man is fishing on the shore. What if he attracts sharks? This could be dangerous! I wonder how the water current is today? It’s a red flag. I will have to make the kids stay close to me so I know they are safe…
You get the idea, right?
Okay, so let me say again that this is totally normal.
It’s how our brain works.
But you can train your brain to stay in the moment.
Acknowledge the messages from your ego and thank it for its keen effort to keep you safe. Bravo. It is really good at keeping you safe!
Then take a deep breath and let it go.
Tell yourself a different story (remind your ego that you are in charge). My kids are safe and I am safe. The universe/God takes care of me and I am always safe.
Make it your mantra. This would be mine, but you come up with one that works for you. What feels true for you? (Pro Tip: You have to believe it in order for it to work.) Repeat your mantra in your head, and let the evidence of that statement fill in your experience (via: your brain's RAS).
This my friend is how you rewire your thoughts to focus more on the good things you want and less on the not so good things.
How can you use this in everyday life to rewire your experiences?
I’ll give you a hint: it’s not by telling the stories of how you were wronged, frustrated, mistreated or embarrassed to your mom, your husband, or anyone who will listen.
It is by telling the stories of wins, talking about how it feels good to do something you enjoy, how you love it when your work bestie brings you breakfast on Fridays.
Even if only in your head, start telling these stories, and pretty soon your brain will start finding more good things to show you.
Try it this week to see it in action and start changing the loop.
It’s natural to have questions as you start to apply these techniques in your life. I’d love to answer those for you and help you apply them. Comment below or DM me on Instagram.