Worry, The ‘Stories’ We Make Up and a Better Way Forward

WELCOME!

Todays’ post is in response to a series of emails from a subscriber.

Rather than go into the long list of thing things this sensitive woman expressed concern about, I’ll boil it all down for you.

Basically, although things are going reasonably well in her new romantic relationship, she is very worried about how things will ultimately ‘work out’.

Curious about what I shared with her?

The short answer:

Worry is using the imagination to create something that we don’t want.

And

If things are going reasonably well and you are enjoying the majority of the time that you spend with the person you are dating or in partnership with—relax, be present, and make the most of each interaction. 

Past emotional trauma and worry

Humans remember everything that happens to them.

Negative relationship experiences with family members, friends and especially, failed romantic partnerships, if not properly processed, leave ‘emotional scars’ in our consciousness.

The emotional impact of disappointing relationships is cumulative, meaning that it builds up over time.

The more relationship disappointment that we have experienced, the more likely we are to both:

  • Misinterpret the intentions and actions of others

And

  • To be emotionally triggered by things they say, do, or fail to do.

All of our experiences, hopes, and fears live just below the surface of our consciousness- in what many psychologists refer to as our unconscious mind.

When we ‘worry’ we are essentially using our imagination to project our fears of failure, defeat, and of being hurt again into the future.

The ‘stories’ we make up

One way we often deal with our fears regarding the future is to make up ‘stories’ about:

1. Why disappointing things happened to us in the past.

And

2. How we would like things to work out this time around.

Stories about why disappointing things happen to us

Humans have a strong need for ‘order’ and ‘fairness’ in their lives.

We also have a strong need for ‘internal consistency’.

This leads us to create explanations for why things we experienced as ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ happened to us.

For example, children need to believe that the adults in their lives can be fully trusted to take proper care of them.

This is one reason why emotionally and physically abused children often make up stories blaming themselves for these negative experiences.

After all, their parents know all.  If they can’t trust their parents, then who can they trust?

A child’s need to trust their abusive parents, in many cases, causes them to label themselves as ‘bad’ rather than seeing their parents’ behavior as ‘bad’ or inappropriate.

Even a very young child knows that bad parents can’t be trusted.

Something’s got to give… so the child ends up blaming themselves for their parents’ abusive behavior.

Stories about how we would like things to work out this time around

We often make up stories that have a ‘happy ending’.

Such stories serve to temporarily relieve some of the stress associated with our fear of the future.

Unfortunately, the stories that we make up when ‘stressed’ also tend to blind us to what’s going on in the present.

For example, a divorced woman who deeply desires a married relationship with the person she is dating may find some comfort in imagining married life with her ‘sweetie’.

The down side in this example is that now this woman’s consciousness is projected far into the future at the expense of being fully present with what is actually going on in their relationship in the present.

At worst the stories she made up about being happily married to her new sweetie may cause her to miss some obvious ‘red flags’ about her newly forming relationship.

At the very least, the stories she made up about her happy married future will hinder her capacity to see her new sweetie as he really is.

So far, so good?

What to do instead

  • Consciously use the power of your imaginative capacities to create a positive story or vision for your future.
  • Find a time to share your story or vision with the person you are dating or, if you are in a committed relationship, your partner.

    Don’t keep it to yourself!

  • Gently test the waters and enlist their support.  It takes two to paly the game of love.
  • When fears or concerns arise have the courage to openly and authentically share them with your Partner.

    From my experience, it takes courage to love and receive love.

As my dear friend and fellow coach, Stephen Michael Light, would say:

“To Love and Courage!”

I sincerely hope that you found this post inspiring and useful.

I am here if you need me.

I invite you to support our community by posting a comment or question on my blog. I am here if you need me.

See you next week.

Live, connect, love and prosper

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