The Story You Tell Yourself

Is there anything in today’s world that causes more anxiety than those 3 dots?

What about when the dots show, and then they disappear!!

Epic mental meltdown!

The opportunities for fear, doubt, uncertainty and insecurity absolutely flourish when those dots go.

“Why did he delete his text!? What was he going to say? What did I do? He doesn’t like me. It must have been because of what I said to him. He’s taken it the wrong way. We’re done. I’m such an idiot!”

When people are on a constant and consistent wavelength with each other, I like to think of them as being ‘under tension’. No not negative awkward tension, the tension that keeps them together and in relative sync.

When people are not on a consistent wavelength, this is where insecurity and doubt can sink in. I think of this as ‘empty space’ between one another. This empty space can be dangerous. It is the space of uncertainty. As humans we don’t like empty space. We like to fill that space up with something in order to make sense out of it.

We tell ourselves a story.

To make things worse, being the primitive survival seeking mammals that we are, we tend to tell ourselves a negative story.

If someone is warm towards you one day, and then cold the next, what do you usually think to yourself?

‘Oh gosh I’ve done something.’

‘What did I do?’

‘They don’t like me.’

‘They must be threatened by me.’

‘F them, what a bitch.’

‘I must be annoying them.’

‘This is so typical of me.’

When in reality, the person could have an array of different reasons for being cold, 99.9% of the time they have absolutely nothing to do with you.

They have something on their mind and are a little distracted.

They just had a really stressful moment in traffic.

They just received some bad news.

They just had an argument on the phone with their mum.

They are hungry.

They are cold.

They genuinely didn’t mean to be cold and just had a momentary lapse.

They’re also telling themselves a story, about you and are feeling the same uncertainty and insecurity you’re feeling.

They need a coffee.

It is near impossible to stop ourselves from coming up with some sort of story when there is empty space. But what we can do is just be aware of it.

When there is empty space, when we are making up a story, just stop for a moment. Stop and ask that person if they are okay. Tell them that the story you are telling yourself is that you’ve… whatever… let say you fear you’ve pissed them off somehow.

By telling them that this is what you are worrying about you will both get a win. Every time.

If you tell them that you are worried you’ve pissed them off, they can do one of two things:

Clear the air – “Oh no absolutely not! I’m really sorry, I just had a bit of a stressful day and didn’t mean to be so cold and vague. How are you?”

Confirm it – Yes this will be a little more confronting. But at least you can now talk it out, figure it out and be stronger for it from now forward.

You’ve now got tension back in the relationship, everything is good again in the world.

Now I understand that the fear of scenario 2 can be crippling enough for you to never bring up your issue. But you need to ask yourself… ‘Am I really willing to wallow in constant uncertainty around this person forever forward because of a story I am telling myself that may be but most likely is not true?’

Yeah.

Rip the bandaid.

We will never stay in constant perfect tension with each other. But we can work on it as much as possible.

How?

Just communicate. Often.

Be honest. Always.

*Ever have a person that is a bit of a bitchy grump almost always? I bet you feel more comfortable around them than with someone that is hot and cold with you. Because they are both honest and consistent. What you see is what you get so you are 100% certain to not be the cause of their regular mood.

Lastly…

Get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. The more you have, the better you are at dealing with them.

Stu.

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