Who doesn’t like a good story? They’re entertaining. They can be funny or serious … or inspirational … and even thought-provoking.
Stories that take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions are fun when we’re talking about a play or a movie. Those stories are not so great when we allow the stories we tell ourselves to take us on a bumpy emotional ride.
What are the stories you tell yourself? Do any of those stories perpetuate worry, anxiety, and negativity?
We make up all sorts of “stories” in our lives, often based on our experiences. For example, if you gave your heart to someone and you really thought it was going to work out but it ended badly, do you tell yourself the “story” that loving others always leads to heartbreak?
Here’s another example: Say you just got rejected for a couple of jobs that you really, really … I mean REALLY … wanted. What story do you tell yourself? Do you say, “I thought those jobs seemed great, but I guess they weren’t meant to be. I believe I’m being redirected to something even better!” Or, do you cling to this story: “I never catch any breaks. I’m never going to land a great job that I’ll love.” There’s a big difference between those two stories, wouldn’t you agree? [Related post: How to Deal with Rejection and Move on Quickly.]
Why the stories you tell yourself are so important.
The “stories” that you cling to about how life works matter. In fact, they matter a lot.
You see, those stories aren’t mere passing thoughts like most of the other 50,000+ thoughts you have each day … those stories have strong energy. They create channels of beliefs in your mind, and once those channels are carved, you tend to fall back into them again and again and again.
When your stories are filled with doubts, fears, anxiety, negativity, and resentment, then your stories are blocking your ability to see how life can be so much better than what you’re expecting.
Your stories are the filter through which you experience your world.
Gloominess begets gloominess. Doubt begets more doubt. Worry begets more worry. Yet, it works the other way around, too. Peace begets peace. Positivity begets more positivity. Joy begets more joy.
Here’s the real key …
The longer you’ve been telling yourself negative, untrue or limiting stories, the deeper the channels in your mind The key to letting go of old stories that continue to bring worry and fear into your life is to create new, happier stories based on a more optimistic mindset. Rivers create new channels all the time and so can you!
Just like in the example of the job rejection, choose to believe something better is ahead for you rather than you can’t catch a break. Choose to believe that one or two examples (or more) of things not turning out how you wanted does not mean things will never go your way. [Related post: Stop Getting on Thought Trains that Stress you Out]
The stories you tell yourself have power. From now on, use that power to add peace, goodness, and joy to your life!
Need help changing some of the old stories that are holding you back? Check out the affirmations and the exercise below. Also, I’ve added some reading recommendations below. I’m particularly fond of Byron Katie and Brené Brown’s work on this subject, so be sure to check those out, too.
MORE STUFF TO HELP YOU FLIP YOUR STORIES FROM NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE …
(Practice telling yourself POSITIVE, UPLIFTING “stories” from now on. These affirmations are a good place to start)
- I am confident that life is rigged in my favor.
- It doesn’t matter which way the wind blows, I stand strong knowing I’m always okay.
- I see evidence that life is truly beautiful every single day.
- I am loveable, confident, beautiful, intelligent, and extremely blessed at all times.
- “I’ve got a beautiful feeling, everything’s going my way!” (lyric from the song Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’ from Oklahoma)
It’s storytelling time! Think of an old story you keep telling yourself. It could be about anything that tends to cause you stress and worry.
Maybe it’s about money, or relationships, or career, or about your overall sense of self-worth … or something else. Now, take a few minutes to write about that story. Take note of the phrases you’ve heard yourself say. Get as specific as you can about your story’s details.
Once you’re finishing writing down your “old” story, it’s time to write a new one. Turn it around. I’m providing a few “story turnaround examples” below to help get you started, but these are relatively short and your “old” story probably has more to it than the simple stories I’m telling below. The more specific you can get about what you’ve told yourself in the past (that was working against you), the more precise you can be when creating the new story that WILL serve you much better!
*** Here are three “old story” vs. “new story” examples ***
OLD STORY: I’m never going to get a good job. I’m going to be stuck working for less money than what I deserve for people who don’t appreciate me
NEW STORY: Finding wonderful employment opportunities is easy — doors open all the time. My work is fulfilling and I’m richly rewarded for it. I work with and for people who appreciate me and who are a joy to work with. I am so blessed and so grateful for how wonderful my career is going.
OLD STORY: There’s never enough money. No matter how much I earn, more goes out the window. The bills keep adding up and up. I’ll never get ahead.
NEW STORY: Money flows into my life in the most delightful unexpected and expected ways. There’s always plenty to go around and I’m blessed to have enough not only to pay my bills, but I have plenty to share with others, too. Whenever I need more money for something, I find there’s always a way to obtain the money I desire to earn. I am so blessed and so grateful for how financially blessed I am.
OLD STORY: I’m just not good enough, that’s all there is to it. I’m overweight and ugly. I’m not loveable … that’s been proven time and time again. I’ll never have the life that others seem to enjoy. I wish it was different, but it’s not. I’ll just keep hiding and hope that nobody sees how totally inadequate I am.
NEW STORY: I am a masterpiece created by the Creator of all. I am here to live a blessed life full of love, peace, and joy. I am confident in my abilities. I have so many gifts to share with the world and I know the world needs what I have to offer. I gladly step into the light, knowing that as I do so, I bring more light into the world. I am so blessed and grateful to be living this truly amazing life.
OLD STORY: No matter how hard I try to stay positive, bad things seem to keep happening to me. I try and try to change, but I always land right back where I started … bummed and depressed and living in negativity. I give up trying to turn it around, it just won’t ever work!
NEW STORY: Life comes with a lot of twists and turns. Sometimes it surprises me in ways I don’t expect, bringing people and situations that I don’t always “get” at first. Yet, I know there’s always a message in the lessons I’m learning and I’m so grateful for that. I know that as I keep my head held high and offer kindness, compassion, love, and joy to others, I receive all this and more back. Life is truly rigged in my favor and I’m so grateful that each day presents rich new experiences that help me grow. Life is truly good!
*The content on this page was adapted from the book: How to Kick Your Worry Habit and Just Be Happier. Buy it on Amazon for only $2.99.
Additional Recommended Reading: