Thursday, September 1, 2016

The story in my head....

Last year, at the Global Leadership Summit, Brene' Brown spoke, and this prompted me to buy one of her books, "Rising Strong", and as soon as it arrived, I devoured it.  It spoke to me.  It helps that Brene' is somewhat of a hero of mine, a researcher, a psychology person, someone who speaks my language.  So, it was not really a surprise that her books (and TEDtalks on shame and vulnerability) are my favorites, and show up in my work with clients, in talks with friends, and discussions with the family.  

In Rising Strong, Brene' talks about a scene on a lake with her husband, and a breakthrough thought for her.  I won't do the story justice, so suffice to say you'll need to get the book and read the passage.  
Anyway, the breakthrough thought was along the lines of the stories our minds make up for things that don't make sense to us.  Our minds like things to come to a pretty little conclusion, all tied together in a bow, and finished in an hour's time, or at least by the end of the book.  We don't like loose ends.  We don't like ambiguity.  We don't like incomplete chords and tunes that don't resolve themselves.  Our minds create their own ending if it such a resolution is not handed to us.  

This need for resolution is what made-for-TV dramas, and soap operas resolve problems in an hour's time, and why shows with loose ends continue to draw people back to watch the next episode.  We want the neatly-tied-together conclusion.  

Life is not nearly as close to reality TV as we would like.  We don't get handily crafted neat solutions.  We get LOTS of loose ends.  So, our minds imagine an ending.  

The husband that didn't arrive home when he said he what?
 - - dead on the side of the road?
 - - having an affair?
 - - still busy at work?
The incomplete voicemail that promises a followup call to explain...says what?
  - - I'm going to be fired?
  - - I did something wrong?
  - - someone died?

Often, I find the stories in my head to be crazy-making.  The above scenarios are directly from my own experiences.  My imagination works overtime.  All.The.Time.  

My interactions with family members are no exception.

I imagine anger where there may not be any.  
I imagine disgust.
I imagine all kinds of things.  

The problems I have with this imaginary process is that I have no way to confirm or deny the validity of my scenarios when I have no contact, or very little contact with the people in question.  

So, tonight, the story in my head says that my extended family wants nothing to do with me.  It says that my exposure of the pain of the past has turned everyone against me.  It says that I am the only one who has attempted to keep the family from imploding, and that no one really cares if I am ever in contact again.  

Clearly, the story in my head is a painful one, and one I wish could be resolved.  Because I don't like the story in my head.