The Bullshit Stories We Tell Ourselves

My name is Sue, and I like to make stories up in my head...

I’ve conjured up some beauties over the years. That the massive cockroach I saw run under my bed is surely going to crawl on my face while I’m sleeping… probably go right up my nose and start eating my brain… That the rose thorn prick on my thumb from gardening today is most likely going to blow up into full-blown tetanus overnight, and they’ll find my dead body in the morning (better wear pyjamas). That I can dance. Those instruction manuals are optional… just shut up and pass me the cordless drill! That maybe no one noticed that I had my top on backwards in that meeting today. That I am a FANTASTIC singer. Putting that tent up = a piece of cake! That I can completely ignore the sat-nav, invent a ‘short cut’ and not get lost. That I can singlehandedly do everything myself and not ever need to ask for help.

Now to be fair, believing some of these stories has led to some of the funniest, most ridiculous, rewarding, memorable moments of my life and I plan to tell myself much more. But…

I have also been known to tell myself some other kinds of bullshit stories.

Ones which aren’t clever, funny, pretty or kind. And I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone. Who else is familiar with some of these doozies?

Haven’t heard from a friend in a while? Clearly, they’ve cracked the shits with me. The dreaded unanswered text or message (especially when you can see they’ve fucking read it) is definitely because I don’t matter to them. There’s no point in trying because I’ll never win. Of course, he/she doesn’t want to be with me because I don’t look like a supermodel. I missed out on the job because they don’t think I’m good enough. Why ask, they’ll say no anyway, and they’ll think less of me for asking in the first place. They are judging me. They don’t really like me, they are just being polite.

Holy shit that list sounds sad when you see it laid out there in black and white doesn’t it?

Imagine if you caught your sister, your daughter, one of your girlfriends rolling out one of these charming stories… you’d be giving them a slap.

There came a day, a while back now when I was ready to give myself a slap too! I decided to stuff this for a joke… I’m going all detective. Initial investigations revealed 2 very useful facts. Each and every one of these bull shit stories was based on an assumption around:

  1. What I thought I was worth.
  2. What was going on in someone else’s head.

Ahhhhhhh how very fucking interesting. So I took myself on a little chickie paying attention adventure, yes in true road testing the fuck out of lifestyle, I decided to make a plan Stan. From that day forward, I started paying special attention to the stories that I was telling myself; and whenever I smelt a whiff of assumption in the air (a bit like a sneaky fart).

I said, Ahhh I do believe that I recognise that funky smell... Excuse me my fine friend, is that an actual fucking fact? Or are you serving me up a big fat slice of assumption right there?

Once said smell is correctly identified, I can then ask myself the following:

Is that story actually true?
Where’s my proof?
What’s the worst thing that could happen if it is true?
What’s the worst thing that could happen if I just asked?

It’s kind of like taking the good old Buddha quote:
 

“Before you speak, let your words go through three gates.
Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind!”

– Buddha (or some other such famous dude)

Then apply it to the way that I speak to myself. Rocket science eh??? Once I’ve identified the stink, I can then choose to:

CALL IT.
To say I see you assumption, and this time I’m not playing… (thankyouthankyouverymuch)

CLARIFY.
Yep, I try and clarify what the actual real deal version of the story is. Which usually involves stretching ye old bravery muscle… and asking.

I know, I know, it’s really fucking hard to go all vulnerable and ask the question (a la Brene Brown), especially when it’s not your usual go. But so far life has taught me that I’d much rather live with the truth, than with the version of the story that my inner bitch came up with. Whether you call or clarify or both, the best bit is that you always,

LEARN.
Sometimes you find that you were so wrong that it’s not funny. Maybe you find that you’ve given someone too much credit or not enough. You might learn something about someone that you love that you never knew before. You might get to see their vulnerable side too. Maybe you find that you have been holding onto a story that wasn’t right or true, and it's time to let it go. You may find out, shock horror, that it wasn’t all about you! Everyone else is just winging it too you know. You learn that it’s just a story and that you get to choose whether or not you believe it, and how it ends.

Either way, you always learn. Isn’t that what life’s all about?

Stuffing up.
Learning.
Doing better?

Well, that’s what I reckon anyway. So next time you catch yourself making an assumption. Next time you smell the whiff of those bullshit stories in the air. Making a mountain out of a molehill before it’s even a little pile of sand. Thinking about all of the ways that something isn’t going to work out. How’s about you do yourself a favour and join me in turning all special investigation unit?

Call it.
Clarify.
Learn.

And then get the fuck on with your,

Day.
Life.
Wine.

Works for me anyways.
As you were lovely chickies,

Sue Xx

Sue Muller