I love this question. There’s so much power in it. Because there’s so much power in the truth.
The truth is scarce. We can go days, even weeks, without anyone telling us the whole truth. And doesn’t that also go for ourselves and the “truths” we tell ourselves?
Perhaps we need to be asking the question more often. “Is it true?”
The stories we attach to
As I’m always saying: the human brain is an analogue processor. It works by analogy and metaphor.
And so the brain loves stories. It loves being taken on a journey and an adventure. It loves making connections and joining the dots.
For this reason, story-telling is the great influencing-impacting tactic to employ: as when giving a presentation or talk; or when interviewing for a position; or when communicating an idea or a vision. Because stories grab us.
But there is a flip side: as when we get caught-up in the stories we tell ourselves.
Stories that are un-examined and (thus-far) un-evidenced.
Stories – and the elaborate extensions we add – that are actually just theories. But theories that we’ve already decided are true. And that we act on, as if they are. (Never mind the fact that the theory argues with reality!)
We can all think of such stories. As when someone calls us into their office. Or delays in responding to our email. Or takes a call and abruptly walks out of our meeting. Or fails to deliver on an expectation.
We invent the intricate narrative that explains it all. And uncomfortable feelings result.
Reflect on it now and I’d say we can all think of a dozen examples of discomforting thoughts and feelings that are the result of no more than the story we’ve attached to.
This is where so many of our clouded judgements and limiting beliefs (stories we’ve been telling ourselves for years) come from: un-investigated, un-evidenced stories that we attach to.
The power of enquiry
An alternative response to accepting our unexamined stories is: enquiry. And that begins with the simple but powerful question: is it true? Swiftly followed by: are you sure?
And then, whatever your answer is (because this is about whether it’s a truth for you), consider:
Who would you be without the story?
If you couldn’t think the thought. If you couldn’t elaborate on reality with your own fiction. How would things be different? How would you feel? What might be revealed to you?
Because isn’t it the story we’ve attached to – and not the event or even the thought itself – that’s getting in our way?
So enquire. Meet your stories with understanding. Consider: is it true? And see what possibilities this new perspective reveals to you.