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The Stories We Tell Ourselves

“Imagine a new story for your life and start living it.”

~~ Paulo Coelho

Greetings to all my precious people!!

We have just experienced the Full Wolf Moon – January 25, 2024 – the first full moon of the new year.  It reached peak illumination at 12:54 p.m. ET on Thursday, according to NASA and it will look like a full moon until around midnight on Friday, January 26.  Did you know that full moon names are based on seasons, historical crops and the behavior of animals? The Wolf Moon moniker for this month’s full moon came about because wolves were often heard howling in January, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Wolves howl to communicate with their pack and to protect their territory. It is thought that a Wolf Moon offers us greater opportunity for deep self-reflection about how we operate and communicate within our world. 

The Wolf Moon invites all of us to focus on what we want to call into our lives as the New Year begins to take shape. This full moon illuminates parts of our life that beg for attention and is the perfect time to let go of anything holding us back, shake off limiting beliefs, release the baggage and create space for brighter days ahead.  Full moons are magical portals for both manifestation and release, and this Wolf Moon is no exception. The end of January is the perfect time to leave the past behind and take a bold step forward into the year ahead. Embrace the shifts and create the best version of yourself with compassionate intention.  What lights you up? You might need to let go of a bit of self doubt first but this is your sign to put yourself out there more in 2024.

January is also the perfect time to consider the stories we tell ourselves.  Where do they originate?  Are they our stories or did someone tell us about ourselves? Perhaps it was something we read, or heard about, or the thread of storyline in a movie.  But one thing is for sure, these stories exist and persist.  They can actually be the hidden mechanism that creates unhappiness, frustration, anger, disappointment, relationship problems and difficulty changing habits.  We all seem to be unaware of this process – the ongoing stories that are running in the background – but it is happening.  All the time. Every minute of every day. To all of us.

We tell ourselves a story about what’s happening in our lives, about other people, about ourselves.  Calling them “stories” doesn’t mean they’re false, or that they aren’t based on the truth. It simply means we’ve constructed a narrative based on our experiences, a perspective on the world around us, an interpretation of facts as we see them. Not false, but not necessarily the entire truth – just one perspective.

Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons met at Harvard University in 1997, where they began to collaborate on research. In 2004 they shared the Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology, awarded for “achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think,” for the experiment that inspired The Invisible Gorilla.  Amazingly, over half of the observers in the study missed the gorilla walking amidst the players passing a basketball.  This experiment revealed two things: that we are missing a lot of what goes on around us, and that we have no idea that we are missing so much. It has become one of the best-known experiments in psychology. Make sure to click the link and observe the video that is 1.5 minutes long.

From imagined catastrophes to play-by-play interpretations of others’ behavior, we are expert storytellers, quick to fill in the blanks. Unfortunately, all too often our behavior is determined by baseless suspicions, which trigger needless pain. Real life passes us by as we fall for powerful fantasies of our own creation. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to break the cycle of false assumptions that lead to unnecessary anxiety. 

By taking control of our reactions to the people around us, we can learn how to be truly present in our lives as we nurture the relationships that matter most. Recognizing how family narratives, media, and past experiences shape compelling storylines is eye opening!!  This perspective allows us to create a new approach and identify the patterns that blind us to reality and wreak havoc on our relationships. 

Our body responds to the stories we tell ourselves.  Dr. Gemma Newman, MD talks about how her patients began to experience a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in health when they changed how they viewed their situation.  The long form conversation is here on the podcast with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee:  How To Get Well and Stay Well.  Dr. Newman celebrates the fact that the body is wise, and well prepared to heal itself, especially when there is connection and coherence between the physical and the mental/emotional aspects.

Once we are aware of our story-telling tendencies, we can use them to our advantage. The stories we tell ourselves provide an insight into our subconscious minds: our fears, desires and ambitions. When we reflect on these stories, we can learn more about ourselves – what our values are, what we view as meaningful and important. 

The most exciting part of this reflection is that when we realize how prone we are to tell stories, and more importantly – to believe them – we are able to create new ones. And when we change the stories we tell ourselves, we can change the way we see the world and ourselves within it. Being conscious of the stories we tell ourselves prevents us from becoming stuck in the same patterns of behavior and thought. We can thrive in an unpredictable, changing world in our ability to change the way we exist within it.

How can you become more aware of the stories in your sub-conscious operating system?  Make this an experiment for the next month:  slow down the pace of life, choose to tune into your own thoughts, habits and inclinations and become very curious about your Self.  Just explore one aspect that seems to stand out – a habit that you want to change, a goal you want to achieve, a relationship you want to repair.  Allow yourself the grace to explore and listen to your body as you journal your thoughts and ideas – write about whatever comes up – without any judgment.  Become the compassionate observer of your own Self and begin to imagine and visualize the new ways of being.  Want support along the journey?  Schedule a discovery call today and commit to creating the life you dreamed about.  The Possibilities are endless!

“You have no need to travel anywhere – journey within yourself. 

Enter a mine of rubies and bathe in the splendor of your own light.”

~~ Rumi

This article was posted in Health, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Research, Self-Care, Stress & Anxiety, Wellness, What We Treat, Women's Health and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are closed.
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