What most of us don’t realize is that we don’t really respond to people. We respond to our stories about people, based on our theory about life and who we are and what we deserve.
Here’s a common example of how this works: You have left your partner at home with the kids while you go off to do something. Hours later when you get home, the house is a mess.
The dishes are unwashed, toys and clothes are everywhere and your partner is watching TV.
You walk into the bathroom and there in the empty bath, is a towel that has been obviously used to clean up the floor after someone missed their aim at the toilet bowl and it is clear to you that it has been sitting there for hours.
So here are the facts. Partner at home, house is messy, partner is watching TV and stinky, pee smelling towel is sitting in the empty bath.
Here’s where our stories kick in. See if any of this sounds familiar:
“I can’t believe he hasn’t cleaned any of this up. Bloody typical! He just leaves this stuff for me to clean like he always does. He just takes me for granted and I am so sick of it. He just doesn’t give a damn about me and how I feel. I am so sick of working so hard and trying to do everything on my own.”
Your story about your partner and why you think they do what they do, takes over and you react to that story as if it is true and yet another argument is about to happen, perhaps the same old argument that has been going on for weeks or months or years.
We stop reacting to the facts. We stop reacting to the person. We start reacting to our stories about the person.
We do this because according to our stories, we think we already know.
The only way to truly know what someone is feeling or thinking or why they do what they do is to ask them.
The trouble is, that we don’t.
In that moment when we step into our stories, we lose the ability to ask questions and have a conversation about what is really happening.
Instead of owning our feelings, we accuse other people of “making” us feel something, do something or believe something.
The best way to have a conversation about an issue and step out of your stories, is to talk about the facts and issues and OWN your emotions.
So how does this look?
Instead of you saying something to your partner like:
“You make me so angry when you always leave the mess for me to clean up.”
You say something like:
“When I saw the stinky towel that was left in the bath, I felt like you left it there for me to pick up and I felt taken for granted.”
Notice the difference?
One is an accusation that will most likely get a hurt, defensive response.
The other is your reaction and interpretation of what you are experiencing that the other person can respond to, with what the situation is for them.
The more you step out of your stories, own your feelings and stick with the facts, the more open, honest and real your relationships and communication will be.
Are you stuck in your stories of what might happen or what other people may think? Then book yourself in today for a Complimentary Consult with me today and let’s talk about how to get you unstuck.