Mental chatter that sounds like:
Was it something I said? Should I have offered something else? Was I not friendly enough? Did I offend them? Should I have said yes instead of no? Is she mad because I’m friends with so-and-so? Did I have coffee breath? Am I a really terrible person? And on and on and on…
I’m guilty of this and I’ve spoken with many others who’ve fallen victim to this mental trap. It’s often very easy to come up with stories about what things mean – and most especially what things mean about US. But oftentimes our stories are just that – stories, not fact.
That’s what I’m talking about with today’s question on changing a negative perspective: what am I making this situation mean about me?
And these situations can be externally and internally driven. For example, that snide comment from a co-worker that throws you for a loop (externally driven) to something we tell ourselves like: ‘I haven’t gotten that promotion yet, I’m not working hard enough’ (internally driven).
Bottom line: we make the situation mean something about us that 99% of the time IS NOT TRUE.
These untruthful stories we tell ourselves hurt and bury us deeper and deeper into the negativity rut and the real truth is we NEVER know the whole story behind someone else’s motivations.
Next time you feel yourself taking something personally get at the heart of what you are telling yourself. You may be making your circumstance mean something about you that isn’t true and likely hurts.
Ask yourself if what you are thinking is REALLY true? Is it really, truly fact? I bet not. You can even take this one step further and see why the opposite of your hurtful thought might be true.
I was recently working with a client who had taken on a new role and had to give a presentation to a group of her former peers. She had all kinds of stories (that were coming from her own head, not anyone else) about why this group wouldn’t take her as seriously since she used to be “one of them”. After seeing that her thought was not really, truly fact but rather a story in her own mind, we looked at how the opposite could be true. She started to see how they actually might take her MORE seriously because she used to be a peer. This thought felt a lot better and in turn helped build her confidence for the presentation.
Get clear by questioning and cleaning up your own thinking. In time, those thoughts, looks, comments won’t have nearly the same effect on you.
Follow the other posts in this series: