How to set your 2018 on fire: Part 13 of 18
13. I will be mindful of the stories I tell myself
QUICK QUIZ. WHO IS HAPPIEST?
Tina: I ask her how her week was. “Good thanks. It’s a busy time at work, we had a strategy away day thing down in The Tron. It went pretty good, good to be out of the office for a change. Put me a little out of routine, butI still made it to spin twice this week. I’ve been dating, you will be pleased to hear! I’m investing a bit of time in the online dating thing and I’ve had a couple of nice dates already . . .”
Or Toni: She tells me about her week. “It’s okay. Super full on at work and we had this away day thing in The Tron. Those three days out of the office got me so out of routine and now I’m really behind at work. And it meant I only got to spin twice. I’ve been online dating, and that’s such a time suck . . . I’ve seen a couple of guys but that’s just taking time out of my week too, and neither of them were right . . . ”
Obviously Tina and Toni are one and the same smart and gorgeous girl. I knew you spotted that little trick question a mile off. The message with my little ruse is this:
Our emotional state is defined by the story we tell ourselves. Perception is reality. Like in politics. That’s why they work so hard on the spin. The story you tell yourself defines how you feel about your day/work/body/life.
Let me be clear, this is not a case of doing Fake News with yourself. The fact of the matter is you went to spin twice and can either feel good about that fact, or you can feel bad about it. You can either use it as positive fuel to plan differently next time you are away, or you can use it as negative confirmation that you have let yourself down and to feel bad about yourself. One will make you feel happier and more motivated, and one will make you feel like you have failed yourself. You can’t change the fact, but you can decide how you want to feel about it and the story you will tell yourself about it.
What is that phrase about there being three versions of the truth? What he said. What she said. And what really happened. It’s kind of the same game we play with ourselves in our own heads. There is what happened, and then there is what we tell ourselves about it. Our emotional reality is defined far more by what we tell ourselves about what happened, than by what actually happened.
So, we are all kind of a mix. No one is all good headspace. Or all bad headspace. But being more mindful of the story you tell yourself about different life circumstances will massively and speedily alter your mood. Our brains are story-telling machines. They are always going to create a story about what goes on; that’s how they work. Something happens and we ascribe meaning to it. It’s up to you if it’s more fairytale than nightmare. You get to decide the lens through which that story is told. The stories we tell ourselves are the most important ones of all, so be mindful of how you spin it if you want to feel good more often. Rose-tinted will always feel better than shades of grey.
More columns in this series
- See How to set your 2018 on fire: Part 1
- Part 2: I will face forward
- Part 3: In 2018 my body will move my mind
- Part 4: In 2018 I will speak up, not eat up
- Part 5: In 2018 I will (sometimes) accept the unacceptable
- Part 6: I will set boundaries around my phone
- Part 7: I will be happily less than perfect
- Part 8: Let them do them. You do you.
- Part 9: I will claim my power
- Part 10: I will be my own cheerleader
- Part 11: I will say something when there is nothing that can be said
- Part 12: I will be a deep listener
Through her online Happiness programme “Wellbeing Warriors”, life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing