Six Great Ways to Stay Stuck in Your Story!
As we talked about in the last article, Just Make It STOP, when we’re in pain, all we want is to feel better. However, that doesn’t automatically mean we want to fix the problem.
Sometimes, we are working really hard to keep our problems and don’t even realize it. There are many possibilities for why, but basically the situations, dramas, self-limitations and even illnesses or injuries serve us in some way. There’s a payoff. They may give us “legitimate” excuses for letting ourselves off the hook for other things. “I can’t do that because I’m too weak.” “I can’t even think about anything else until this crisis is over.” Or, they may validate subconscious limiting beliefs. “That’s just the way it is for me.”
Whatever the case, the story is a never-ending loop that keeps us stuck, chasing our tails instead of finding solutions. Here are six ways we stay stuck in our stories. (All use “she” but apply equally to males and females):
- The DUMPER (AKA “Vomitus Alloverus”) will tell her story over and over to anyone who will listen. You don’t have conversations with this person, you provide an audience.
- The DRAMA QUEEN always has some kind of drama going on in her life—a crisis or something that demands her full attention. And if there isn’t enough “excitement,” she’ll latch on to someone else’s drama or create some new drama for herself.
- The DISTRACTER is a close cousin of Drama Queen, and the last thing she wants is to be still and quiet. She’ll do anything to avoid being alone with her thoughts. She turns on the TV for noise, shops ‘til she drops, is glued to the phone, addicted to Facebook and winds down with wine.
- The DEFENDER—No matter what solution or suggestion you offer, Defender has a reason it won’t work or doesn’t apply to her. And then she jumps right back into telling her story.
- The DENIER complains all the time about what’s wrong yet swears she’s happy. Her words and actions say she’s miserable, but she can’t see it. She’s just venting. And everybody hates their job, right?
- The DEFEATIST also complains all the time and doesn’t want to change, but she’s not in denial about it. She knows she’s miserable and it’s just the way it is. There’s nothing she can do to change anything, so she makes a preemptive strike against disappointment and plans her misery.
I bet you saw a lot of people you know in those descriptions. Maybe you even saw yourself. If so, take heart. I know about these characters because I have played each and every one of them—just ask the friends who were with me through my dark times.
That said, it’s important to remember that these are all totally normal reactions. Your brain spent a lot of time creating your story and it loves to tell it. So, what we have to do is help it create a new story—one that takes you out of the old tail-chasing loop and sets a new course for happiness.
When you catch yourself telling your story—and you will—just simply stop telling it. Don’t beat yourself up, just say something like, “Hey, I think I hopped into my old story there for a minute. Let’s talk about something more fun.” You may be surprised how often this happens, so use your “Happy List” strategy and write down positive topics of conversation that you can switch to in any moment to keep yourself on a positive track.
Changing old patterns takes effort and focus, but it is the only way. And all you have to do is get out of your old story that you just picked up along the way and start creating a fabulous new one on purpose!