Episode 68: What Else is True?
Episode 68: What Else is True?
We are constantly colliding with others. We are born into families and surrounded by people. We go to school with others. We work with others. We marry, have kids, and are constantly surrounded with people and even with all our years of practice and opportunities we still struggle to see people (and ourselves) as we really are.
We often feel hurt, offended, insecure, frustrated, rejected, misunderstood, and lonely.
We tell ourselves it’s because THEY said something, did something, thought something and the worst part of that is, that we believe it.
They hurt my feelings.
He rejected me.
She never valued me.
They’re driving me up the wall.
They were so annoying.
This type of language is so familiar to us because we’ve been practicing it all our lives so when we vent or complain to others we say things like this and they nod because they understand. They believe it too! But all this does more harm than it ever helps and it certainly never heals.
It’s impossible to feel confident when you’re tied to a story that puts you in a victim role.
If THEY did something to you then you are the victim and they, the villain.
I’ve been wanting to do this podcast for a while now. The holidays are approaching and even if you’re listening to this later you’re still going to be surrounded by people your entire life or even with yourself your entire life so let this podcast help you out – to learn how to create confidence instead of insecurity and doubt.
We are master story tellers. Brene Brown says that we are always telling ourselves stories. We do this to make sense of the world around us. Any time we meet or see someone our brain quickly creates a story about them.
Psychologist, Heidi Halvorson says,
“The very first thing the brain does when it’s processing all this information about another person is to take as many shortcuts as possible. The expression that’s used a lot in psychology is ‘we are cognitive misers.’”
Which is a fancy way of saying anyone who seeks out quick solutions to problems rather than careful, considerate ones.
Your brain wants to know if you’re going to be safe or if you need to run. Your brain wants to find certainty – aka confidence. This is why on so many occasions you misjudge someone thinking they were one way and after you get to know them you find out they’re nothing like your first impression of them.
They didn’t change however, your thoughts about them did and that changed your perception of them. We often size people up based on our own biases and favorite stories we tell ourselves even if those biases and stories aren’t serving us.
Think about the stories you tell yourself about yourself or others – don’t dig too hard – we tell ourselves stories day in and day out – what are some of your more recent stories?
Some of my stories are about what others think about me
What my husband thinks about me
What my family and kids are thinking about me
And each time I tell myself a negative story I suffer.
Every negative and painful feeling you’ve ever felt was caused by a story that you’ve told myself. Let that sink in for a minute. We think it’s because they hurt us, they rejected us, they offended us but really it’s our own story of hurt, offense, and rejection that does the hurting.
Byron Katie says, “We don’t hear what someone said; we imagine what they meant”
Our brain is so quick to jump to conclusions or judgements about others and when we do this we close ourselves off from being able to see them, to really see them as they are and what your relationship could be.
Why do we so quickly jump to these conclusions?
Why do choose to believe these stories even though they cause you pain and suffering?
How can we see others and ourselves as God sees them?
We have to remember that our brain loves efficiency. You’re working in part with a brilliant machine and has a job of keeping you alive. It’s processing and filtering through a million things at once and it’s really good at sorting thoughts, offering thoughts and answers to make sense of the things and people around you but often it’s wrong.
It’s not your defaults job – your auto-pilot’s job to help you or your relationships thrive. That’s YOUR job. It requires effort and energy. It requires that you go against the efficiency and do more digging.
I love the Katie also says, “I never trust my opinion; I question it”
But for most of us we don’t want to question it. We hold to our stories even the most painful ones because as crazy as this sounds, it feels safe to us and to your brain it’s certainty. It knows that you’re going to stay alive this way. It’s a way of avoiding emotional responsibility. It’s also, for most of us, what’s known. Not thriving but able to survive.
Even if it doesn’t feel good it’s familiar to us. We’re so comfortable with it because we’ve been telling it to ourselves and others probably for a long time and your brain recognizes the negative emotion and knows that you can live through that. Please remember, your beautifully efficient machine doesn’t care if you’re thriving – it’s job is focused on survival. If you want to thrive, that’s your job and that means getting intentional. Choosing to expend the energy to step back and do more digging.
So what does this digging look like? And why would you want that?
Let me answer that second question first. Every feeling you experience is caused by a sentence in your mind. It’s never the other people that made us feel negatively or hurt. It’s always our own interpretation of them, our thoughts about them that makes us upset. You can choose to harbor negative thoughts about another person and that’d be okay – it’s your choice but only you suffer the consequences of that.
Sometimes we think that if we look passed these things then we’ll be enablers or allowing it to happen again but that’s a narrow way of looking at it. I want you to try on the idea that you questioning your negative story allows you to broaden your perspective so that you can come from a more abundant stance to see that it’s never an either/or choice. It’s never just black and white. It’s not a you’re in or you’re out choice. But that’s a place you can’t get to if you’re holding onto a story that limits you, that causes you pain.
I want to choose to see and interpret others as good because I like how it feels in me to do so. People can be good and I can still choose to set boundaries. People can be amazing and I can still choose to limit my time with them. People can be marvels and still a work in progress that I can choose how I spend my time with and around them.
It helps me. Looking at others through a different lens isn’t FOR them. They can’t feel what you feel. Even if you have the most amazing, loving feelings for them they can’t feel it. It’s only for you.
In the New Testament Paul talks about seeing through a glass darkly. I’ve talked about this before but it’s such a beautiful visual for me and I think about it often. It’s like us looking at the world through the skewed image of a brass pot. Looking at it you can see something. You can see a vague shape, a form, some basic colors. But it’s a vase so the shapes are larger on some areas than others like a mirror in a carnival fun house – it’s distorted. You can still see the semblance of a person but it’s not accurate. It’s vastly distorted and it’s not until we start polishing our view that we can start to see clearly what and more importantly who we’re looking at.
Then polishing or digging comes when we question our initial story. For most of us when we’re in the thick of things and we can’t or aren’t ready to let go of our story yet you don’t have to.
There are times when my clients come to me and they’re white knuckling a painful tale about their spouse, their mother, their co-worker, their friend, or even themselves and I start asking them to question it and they can answer the questions but they’re not ready to let go of their story and I don’t make them. I can’t make them nor would I want to. They’re not ready yet and that’s okay. There’s no hurry.
What I love to ask myself and them is this, “What else is true?”
If you believe that story is true – okay, what else is true?
Notice what happens when we go in this direction. Before the questioning meant that you had to give up your story and right now that story is like a security blanket even if it’s made of thorns. And when you start questioning it your brain tightens it’s grip because it’s not ready to let go yet.
This is where all the, “yeah buts” come in.
Yeah, I see that it’s my story. I see that I’m creating it but… followed by more evidence and thoughts to solidify the current belief so instead of the digging being effective and helpful it’s counter productive and only makes you cradle your current story even more.
So drop the need and scarcity to let go just yet. No one is making you drop your blanket. What I’m asking you to do is to look for what else is true?
When you’re not worried that something is going to be taken away from you you can allow yourself and your focus to pan out and see other possibilities. It allows you to be curious. It offers you a different perspective and other, maybe’s to settle in and then this magical thing happens, you look down at your heavy, thorny blanket and you realize you don’t need it anymore and often times you’re confused why you’re holding it in the first place.
What else is true?
Byron Katie says, “the world is what you believe it to be, and it changes as you change”
When you start allowing yourself to see what could be different your world changes. The people in your life change. Your story about them changes.
You give your brain a new job. Now it’s to prove this story true, to filter things out to confirm this story. When you ask yourself what else is true you’re allowing yourself to willingly let go of weight that was never yours to carry.
I coached a woman that was struggling in her relationship with her husband. She believed he didn’t listen to her or value her thoughts and opinions. She was hurt and offended. She gave me details and examples of all the times he didn’t care, times he interrupted and didn’t value her thoughts.
This story was hard for her and made her cry on more than one occasion. She felt insecure in that relationship because if he didn’t value her now what would the future bring?
So we starting digging deeper. I asked her what else is true?
If you believe he doesn’t value you and you’ve given me evidence to prove that true, what else is true?
Is it true that he does value you in other areas? Have there been times that he is invested in the conversation? Is it true he does listen sometimes?
The more we dug the more evidence she found that he listens to her, quite often, that he is invested in different ways, that he values her and tries to show it in a myriad of ways. It doesn’t take the hurt away from her original story but now there’s hope.
Now there’s a possibility that she could be wrong about her original story and the more she choose to look for and see what else is true the less she’ll feel the need to hang on to the misunderstandings and human moments.
Day in and day out people misunderstand you and you misunderstand them right back.
We cling to our painful stories that just creates more self-doubt, more insecurity, more pain and discouragement.
So without letting go of it just yet because you might not be ready to just start turning your head by asking yourself, “what else is true?”
When you can see that there’s more than just one option you’re able to come from a place of abundance. Sometimes we’re so dead set on this ONE WAY that we fail to see that yes, this is A WAY but it’s not the ONLY way and maybe, just maybe that other way feels better, is easier, and allows you cultivate more confidence in yourself and others.
So what about when it’s yourself? It’s not really about others but you. You’re thinking negatively about yourself and holding onto a painful story about your perceived flaws, weaknesses, faults, and failures?
How can you learn to see yourself in a more positive and productive light?
We tend to be way harsher on ourselves than we are towards other people. We pick and choose from the most painful things that others have said over your lifetime and we just keep them in this file to throw back at ourselves when we’re feeling low. Like let’s totally kick her while she’s down. That’s super helpful and yet, we all do it, even though it feels dark, heavy, and oh-so painful.
So what then?
I hear you, I’ve felt this, I know where you’re coming from and I’ve got you.
Seeing others as they really are is difficult because it means we have to let go of the negative story we’ve curated about them.
But it’s even more difficult to see yourself as you really are or how God sees you.
I learned something recently that I thought was incredibly profound.
When you’re in that dark space and you’re swimming or drowning more like it in that dismal sea of negative thoughts have you noticed that you start talking to yourself differently? You start talking in the 2nd or 3rd person?
It’s not enough what you think about you but you start bringing in what you think others are thinking of you as well, like this:
You aren’t enough
You can’t do this
He doesn’t listen to YOU
She doesn’t really care about YOU
No one wants to hear what YOU have to say
He doesn’t understand YOU
She doesn’t value YOU
They don’t like you
Notice how it’s not I – we’re not speaking in I terms so much but it’s YOU – it’s not I but YOU?
I’m curious if you know this or not and if you don’t, pay attention when it comes up again – just how many of your thoughts and negative stories are centered on what other people think of you?
This really goes back to the confidence model that I teach where the first step is just turning on the light and knowing what you’re thinking and allowing yourself to dig deeper. Then realizing of course I think that because – and don’t fill that in with another painful story
In fact, Brene Brown said, ““The most dangerous stories (thoughts) we tell ourselves are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness”
We worry about what others think because our primitive brain, our primitive outdated wiring is centered on survival. There was a time when you needed to belong and be part of the group or it meant imminent death. But that’s outdated. We live in a such an abundant time where you’re allowed to let friendships evolve and sometimes end. You’re allowed to move from group to group. There isn’t a shortage of human beings nor is there a shortage of means to connect with others.
When you allow yourself to see both sides – yes, this feels true to me – the painful story and you can easily supply evidence to prove it true but then dig deeper and ask yourself, okay, that’s true to me but what else is true?
It’s also true that – and then find evidence to prove the opposite side viable as well.
When you’re so wrapped up in the 2nd and 3rd person views you’re inviting, allowing, and indulging in an attack on who you are and what your divine purpose is.
There’s a quote that I think about often by Kevin W. Pearson. He says,
“We do have a choice. We get what we focus on consistently.”
I want to pause for just a minute – notice, we do have agency. Even though we like to tell ourselves that this is just fact, it’s true – it’s not the only side to the story and you do have agency and choice to allow it to continue and to choose what you’re going to consistently think about. Notice here, it doesn’t say what you think about -because I believe we are offered thoughts day in and day out. But only the thoughts that you CHOOSE – there it is again to focus on will carry the most weight and meaning for you.
He continues, “Because there is opposition in all things, there are forces that erode faith.”
Remember, I’ve talked about this on previous episodes – faith is also synonymous with confidence. So there are forces that erode your confidence and being able to know, embrace, and trust in yourself.
He goes on, “These influences are the destructive D’s:
Lack of diligence
And then disbelief
All these erode and destroy your faith. We can choose to avoid and overcome them”
There are times when I start to allow and choose to focus on the doubts. I indulge in a negative story and when I do I feel the doubts creep in.
Then the more I allow the doubts to stay and keep buying into that negative story like clockwork I feel discouraged. Discouragement feels terrible.
It’s often the feeling that makes most people quit what they’re doing, give up, stop because it feels awful and when you feel awful you look for relief. You seek out something to distract yourself with.
Maybe you find some sugar near by, maybe you whip out your phone, maybe you choose to get out of the house and go shopping or something and you distract yourself from those doubts and discouraging feelings.
When you do this you stop being diligent in your self-coaching. You stop being diligent in trying for the best for you. You instead label yourself as all the negative things and over time, like erosion, you begin to disbelieve anything kind, positive, or uplifting about you.
And I want you to see that all of this is an attack on your personal identity and purpose.
Dr. Andrea Pennington “To transform what you see on the outside you have to transform who you are on the inside”
Transform. To change the form. You might not be ready to let go of the negative story in your mind but I do hope you give yourself the opportunity to just ask one question, “What else is true?”
All throughout your mortal life you will be faced with opposition in all things. You will be offered negative thoughts – even by people you think shouldn’t ever think, say, or feel that way about you.
You might begin to doubt yourself and as you do you’ll see that discouragement isn’t far behind.
If these D’s erode your confidence you need to allow yourself to work against it and be intentional with your own powerful C’s
That is to:
Curious – Ask the question, what else is true?
Then allow for Compassion – it’ll be uncomfortable giving up your negative story. In some ways it was a security blanket but it’s not helping you and it’s laced with thorns. It’s hurts so maybe you’re ready for a new blanket. Something warm, soft, and light.
Compassion looks like, “Of course I thought I needed that thought. My brain was just trying to protect me in the only way it knew how but I’ve got us from here”
From there you can move into Charity – the pure love of Christ – unconditional love for you and for others.
This is the healing balm that wipes the mud from your eyes, that focuses out the distortions, that allows you to see yourself and others as God sees.
Dallin H. Oaks said,
“Love is the most powerful force in the world”
It’s abundant and offers you certainty, confidence, and faith.
There’s a quote that I hold dear to me when I think about myself and others and what else is true. It’s from C.S. Lewis and he says,
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other… It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people.
You have never talked to a mere mortal.”
When you start crafting a story that brings you pain I want you just to see what’s really in front of you.
The destructive D’s or the Confident C’s
Curiosity – what else is true? And then to compassion and always from there confidence and charity.
This is your lifeline. You don’t ever have to sit through another painful, heartbreaking, negative beating again. There’s a way out and more importantly, a way up.
What else is true?
Okay you guys, that was a lot wasn’t it? I’m so grateful for you. I especially want to thank everyone who has taken the time to rate and review this podcast. It’s the lifeline of this podcast and what makes it known and seen to others. Without your reviews it goes under the rug and doesn’t get noticed so the reviews are incredible important and I just want to tell you thank you again for taking the time to write a review. It’s very meaningful to me. Thanks again!