The Stories We Tell Ourselves – Episode 003

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

So, I thought I’d continue on with the stories we tell ourselves and others.

We all have our own stories.
They make us who we are.

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Stories about
where we came from,

Our families and where we fit into them,

Life experiences – Some are sad, some are hilarious and make for great dining conversation, some are fearful or tragic

Other stories enable us to share with others, to gain common ground, and, these stories assist us to discover our tribe or our tribes of which we may have many.

We all like to belong.

We are all here in a physical body and we all need to be connected somehow with others.
It’s all part of being human, belonging and feeling safe.

Did you know that the prime directive of our unconscious mind is to keep us safe?

Now, we don’t consciously know this ( oh! But now you do!)

We’re only aware of it, when we become fearful or when feelings of being threatened by something, that may not even be real, physically or emotionally. That automatic or autonomic responses suddenly appear out of nowhere.

For example, our quick automatic reflexes come into play when we see a big, no sorry, an ENORMOUS hairy spider on the wall near us.

Or jumping out of the road when we hear a bicycle bell just behind us, ( you think they’d give us a bit more warning!)

Or a S-C-R-E-A-M …leaves us involuntarily when a savage dog rushes and barks from behind a fence when we’re out walking! ( goodness!! What are those owners thinking!) Or was the scream with the spider ????

Anyway, we have usually ended up somewhere else or hanging on to someone else, with our hearts thumping, our bodies trembling and sweating without even remembering how we got there!

That’s our unconscious mind keeping us safe.

The other day, I was talking with a lovely man, who was in lots of pain. He was talking about his condition and his future prospects in Palliative care which was quite challenging for his family as well himself of course.

As I was gently massaging his back, he confided that he had a couple of meltdowns that week and he didn’t know why. They had just come up out of the blue and it was all a bit of a mystery to him, and he felt way out of control at the time, which he admitted frightened him.

And it brought me back to a time when a dear relative was screaming down the phone 80 Kms away from the emergency room that she wanted my husband and I to be by her side NOW. She was beside herself, so frightened and anxious. She knew that her time to die was near.

My husband and I asked the nursing staff that we would be there as soon as we could get there, that we would be by her side very soon.

She settled for the next hour waiting and the relief on her face was very evident when we finally arrived. She didn’t remember the screaming.

So while I was gently massaging the man in hospital I said, “Did you know that our unconscious mind is like a 3 year old?” “Noooo “, was the reply unsure of where I was going with this. And then I added, “Did you know that your unconscious mind is there to protect you? And it’s doing a good job with the tantrums you just described?”

“Noooo “was the reply again… Waiting… to hear where this was going.

“So here’s the thing…. have you ever come across a 3 year old having a tantrum ?” “Yes, my daughter was an expert!”, he said. “And why did she have a tantrum?”, I asked.

Oh, one time it was because she wanted something in the supermarket and it was time to go. And she wasn’t budging from the floor of the supermarket aisle!”

“So what did you do?” I asked.

“Well, we convinced her that there would be something great waiting for her when we had finished all our shopping.”

And what was that? -“a ride on one of those mechanical horses at the supermarket entrance.”

“And what happened? “ I asked, “Well she finally got up and we completed our shopping. And then We put her on the horse, put the money in and all was forgiven.” “What would have happened if you didn’t give her the horsey ride?.” “Well! “He said- “we’d still be there with another tantrum!”

So I explained that his 3 year old unconscious mind wanted to be somewhere else. You haven’t convinced your 3 year old that’s it a good idea to stay for treatment and then plan for something fun, like a reward. He looked at me relieved, “That makes so much sense!”

“So what are you going to reward yourself with after you finish this lot of treatment.?”

“Ooo I don’t know!” Was his reply, “I’ll have to have a good think, make a list and see what feels right.”

Future planning with rewards for yourself and others around you gives your unconscious mind certainty. The mind controls everything because of the stories we tell ourselves. We can choose another way of looking at things if what we are telling ourselves isn’t working.

Or to avoid sabotage, make sure the story is believable to yourself and build in rewards as time goes on.

We are the creators of our own stories and therefore our own realities so choose the ones that work well.

Next time, I’ll be talking about slowing down and giving yourself some space.

So until next time, Don’t just exist, live life!

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