Okay, we’re just gonna say it. We tell ourselves stories. All. The. Time. We make up crap and believe it and then start to act from that place. Here’s an example.
Years ago, Jake didn’t show up to our anniversary dinner.
The plan was to pick me up after work at our home and go to our reservations by 6:00 PM. 5:30 rolls around and I didn’t hear from him. (He usually texts when he’s off work and just about to be on his way home.) I am all dolled up, makeup, a new dress, even heels, so excited to eat a fancy dinner and love on each other. Then 6 rolls around…I call the restaurant to push our reservations back to 6:30. Then 6:30 rolls around…I’m starting to fume. WTHeck.
The stories are just spilling out of me by this point.
“I knew he didn’t care about me. He’s going to leave me, that jerk. Great. This buttface doesn’t care about our anniversary, about me, heck—he probably doesn’t love me anymore. It’s probably because I’m gaining weight. Omg. What a JERK. He’s leaving me because I’m gaining weight?? That’s it. I’m going to his work and showing him what he’s leaving. Jerk!”
So yep, it’s now 7 PM and we’ve completely missed our dinner.
You’d think I’d have worried about his safety, if something happened to him, maybe he was working late, I’m sure he’d call or text as soon as he could…but nope. My stories (and insecurities) just went savagely downhill. (Which is a massive indicator I need some work in this area, hello.)
But anywho, I digress. Let me share with you how bad it got and just how savage my insecurities were.
I got myself in my car and drove the 30 minutes to his work. It’s now 7:30. I’m still telling myself these vicious stories about how I’m not enough and how he’s leaving me and how he’s a jerk. I walk in to see him looking tired and dealing with a client. But low-and-behold, I walk right up behind that client (in my fancy dress, heels, make up and a look that I’m sure was sharper than the good knives at your parents house) and stand right beside him. I could feel the sweat coming off of him.
Yep, not proud of that. But oh man, that’s what I did. It was ugly and you can bet we didn’t make it to dinner after that. (Goodness knows I wonder how he didn’t actually leave me after a stunt like that, thanks babe.)
But let’s get serious here. From this story I want you to glean three things:
- We’re all human and make mistakes. Good lord don’t judge me.
- If we solely operate from our sorties that we may not even be aware of, it’s a bad idea.
- You can do something about this.
In our workshops, we share our fav way of handling the stories we tell ourselves by writing down the “Shitty First Draft”. This work we first heard from our shero (she-hero) Dr. Brene Brown. She suggests, in that moment when you first get awareness of having been snagged by something, whip out a notebook or your smartphone and start writing down your thoughts. This isn’t going to be pretty, no grammar or punctuation. Just the straight up truth you think is going on. Then pause and read it back to yourself. Fact check it.
If we look at the story I was telling myself, was any of it reeeeeally true? No. Not even close. It was mainly baloney.
He wasn’t leaving me, he really did care about our anniversary and was stuck at work late. He was feeling guilty and LOVES my curves. The story was so false. Had I gotten some altitude on that story at the time and fact checked it, I probably wouldn’t have acted the way I did. I definitely wouldn’t have gone all the way to his work to parade in full vindictiveness. (Good gracious I still shudder at that memory). I’d like to think I would have had more generosity for him—and for myself.
Over the years of fact checking our stories together, we realized our shitty first drafts are just our homework. Those feelings of not enough, the fear of abandonment and apathy, my body hate—yep. All my homework. And Jake has his own, too. It’s almost empowering to have such clarity on your places for growth. (Once you stop cringing at them.)
Alright, if we could leave you with one plan of action from this:
Start an SFD (shitty/stormy first draft) and begin the work of fact checking it.
What do you say? You in? Let us know below!