What stories are you telling yourself?

I have a tendency to get global, quickly. By this I mean that often I get totally consumed by what’s in front of me and in front of my mind. Hold a magazine up to your face so it touches your nose. Yep, it’s like that.

You can’t read the words of the story, they’re blurred beyond recognition. You can, however, smell the pages, get a glimpse of one or two images and as your retinas try to focus you might make out one or two of the title words. And you remember the story:

‘Comparison tells all – you’re falling behind.’

Or perhaps the tagline:

‘Get down from that big vision and back to reality.’

or last month’s cover story:

‘101 reasons why you’re just not good enough yet.’

Oh and did I mention they were all by the same author? You may have heard her words before? Ms. Inner Critic.

For me, she’s been published quite a bit of late so I’m busting her on the irresponsible journalism she’s been toting. It’s the sensationalised, self-doubt one-liners that we always hear. Never the good stories. So let’s check it.

Here’s 3 ways (or phrases – whichever you prefer) that might be useful to front her:

1. Identify (a.k.a. ‘Like that’s even half-way true? Bitch pleease.’)

Really needed that a big breathe in huh? And that long exhale? Where did that come from? What were you thinking about? It’s usually a sign you’ve been taking too many short breathes the last few minutes because your heart rate’s up thinkin’ and wishin’ about a…yep, story.

You’re tense, not at all motivated and you’re totally consumed by thoughts. They might even be hard to remember if you’re unconscious to what’s got you going. Identify the story-telling happening in this moment. Call it out and name it. ‘Oh, there it is again. That story: “<enter whatever fear, frustration or bad ju-ju story is relevant to you here>”.’

Verbalising (under your breathe and in private – I get you don’t want to seem cra-cra) is powerful. It brings a big and impossible catastrophe down to a, you guessed it, story.

2. Unhook (a.k.a. ‘You can just back the f*^& up’)

The key word here is separation. Accept that it’s just the story and separate yourself, your being, from that thought. Getting yourself to understand that you are not your thoughts is key to unhooking from the complete mind-consumption going on. For me,  it helps to take a deep breath in, say ‘ok’ and tilt my head to the right.

Yes I know that sounds weird (most humans favour their right side) but it’s brilliant in changing my vision and focus which is essential to the next step.

3. Break the story (a.k.a. A big Demi-Moore-in-Charlie’s-Angels hair flick and a ‘So whatcha gonna do about it?’)

Thr story needs a reel to run – make yours too pre-occupied to help. Start intense focus and attention on exactly what you’re doing in that moment. Washing the dishes? Take notice of the slight dis-colouration on the plate you’re rinsing or a chip in your favourite cup. On the computer? Pay attention to how the keys feel under your finger tips; slippery or soft?

Breaking the story is all about focusing on what’s in front of you right now because that’s opposite of what story wants to do. It wants to run into the future. Slowly, and if like me, after many attempts to distract your mind you’ll eventually have spent enough time away from that story to see it for what it really is – a fabricated article with out-of-context images and shaky according-to-a spokesperson-for-You quotes.

Your inner critic is often just you over-thinking. Over-thinking leads to stories and stories keep our minds far busier than they need to be.

Busy minds miss miracles.

And who wants to miss a miracle?

Image: lucile.be

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