The Stories I Tell Myself

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Orlando Counseling Providing Anxiety, Trauma and Relationship Therapy

Do you ever wonder about the voice that is commentating in your head all day everyday? 

As humans, we have core beliefs that colors our world. This belief system was created by interactions with “our people” when we were kids.  I go into more depth about this in my previous blog, Rose Colored Glasses, Nope, I Think Not.  It’s important to know if we had “good enough” parenting, we probably developed healthy beliefs about ourselves and the world.  By “good enough,” I don’t mean perfect, I mean parents that showed us over the years that we are valuable and that they could be trusted. 

If, on the other hand, we experienced childhood trauma or were raised by parents that struggled with addiction or mental illness, we likely developed limiting beliefs about the world.

As an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counseling in Orlando, I help clients sort out the difficulties from the past so they can have fulfilling lives today.

So what do we do if we got ripped off in the operating system department?  We complain and blame, of course!  Only for a minute though.  Then, we start to dig deep and do some work.  The truth is, no one gets out of childhood without some bumps and bruises, and those bumps and bruises start to carve out the path to our own personal journey. Over time, we can even choose to be grateful for our adversities.

The first thing we need to do is, be aware that we have limiting beliefs (more details in my last blog).  The second thing we need to do is challenge them.  Simple, yes.  Easy, no.

Being that I am a Sensorimotor Psychotherapist, I designed a few mindfulness practices to become aware your own beliefs.  Without judgement, just start to notice your organic beliefs in these situations.

1.  Imagine you get an ambiguous email from your boss requesting a meeting, ponder what you tell yourself about this email? Could be something like, “I’ve been kicking ass and my boss wants to recognize me!” Or, “Oh shit! I must be in some kind of trouble.” Pay attention to the story you tell yourself.  This gives you a clue as to your operating system.

2. Imagine you see a homeless man asking for money, ponder your assumptions about this person. Could be something like, “He must be going through hard time. Poor guy.” or “What a slacker!  He should go get a job.” 

Notice how your story changes if you see a homeless woman with children.  See how different your assumptions are if the homeless person is a woman rather than a man.    

3. Next time you get into a disagreement with a family member, notice the story you tell yourself about their behavior.  Do you assume good will or malice?  Just notice.

There is a freedom in truly knowing that all of your thoughts are not fact.  These experiments are designed so that you can start to SEE your belief systems in play.  By simply noticing your assumptions, you become less controlled by them. 

Next step, challenging your beliefs.

1. The next time you get that ambiguous email, hold space for the story you tell yourself AND hold space for the fact that you don’t know what your boss wants until you actually speak to her.  So, if you get anxiety as you are thinking, “Oh shit!  I must be in trouble,” you can calm yourself by saying, “The anxiety I feel is from the story I made up about this email. I don’t really know what she wants yet.”

2. Know that the stories you made up about the homeless man and the homeless woman are just that, stories you made up.  As humans, we are designed to connect the dots, so making up a story isn’t a problem.  Believing it to be fact, is. 

3. Noticing your tendency to assume good will or malice is super important when having a disagreement with someone.  Blindly going into an argument armored with beliefs of malice will likely not yield you a quick resolution with your loved one.  If it is your tendency to assume the worst, challenge this by assuming good will and see how things unfold differently between the two of you.

To recap: We all have core beliefs.  We tell stories about ourselves and others from these operating systems.  The stories aren’t the problem.  Believing the stories are fact and behaving like the stories are fact are sure to be problematic.  Be willing to use mindfulness to notice your stories, as stories, and then be willing to challenge them.

Happy Day!

Lauran


Lauran is an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counseling in Orlando, FL. She also specializes in helping people heal old broken relationship patterns that keep them from finding, creating, and keeping healthy relationships with partners, friends, and family. Lauran uses a down to earth approach infused with cutting-edge therapies that go beyond traditional talking to help clients feel calm in their body and mind and find peace within themselves.