Monday, 11 July 2016

STEP #4 ON THE JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS ~ CHOOSE YOUR STORY

Step #4 on the Journey to Happiness ~ Choose Your Story - stop focusing on the bad stuff and start looking at your blessings

LIFE STORIES

Everyone has a life story - you don't get to be on this earth for any length of time without one. Everyone's story is different, but what they all have in common is - no matter who you are or where you live, both good and bad things will have happened to you. The scale and the quantity varies from person to person but there is no perfect life.

POOR ME, POOR ME

When my life felt like it was going to Hell in a handbasket, all I could see were the bad things that were happening to me. The story playing in my head was "Poor me, poor me" over and over again. As I focused on the negatives, that was all I seemed to see - it reinforced the story to me that my life was a mess, people sucked, and the future looked pretty dismal indeed.

Good things were still happening, but they were being overshadowed by the the cascade of Unfortunate Events occurring at the time. When I looked at my life it didn't delight my heart to say the very least. What I needed to do was turn my story around and to do that I had to connect the dots differently.

CONNECTING THE DOTS

Dot connection is something my husband talks about with Cognative Bias, basically.....if our life events were marked as dots on a page, we join up the ones that fit in with our belief system and they make up our story. The dots are good, bad or indifferent events, we choose which ones we focus on and as we connect them, they define us.

connecting the dots in life to tell a positive story rather than a negative oneI needed to look at the page of my life from a different perspective, so I started looking for the "happier" dots and turning myself towards them - connecting them together and choosing not to spend all my time looking at the sadder dots. This little chart shows a group of dots connected in three different ways that result in three different stories - same dots, different connections, different outcomes and emotions.



CHOOSING MY STORY

I've seen people who focus on how hard done by they are - they are the people who suck the light and joy out of every conversation. They tell the same sad stories over and over and they become victims of those stories. I don't deny for a moment that they have had it tough, but they've let that define them - I didn't want to be defined by the dots of those Unfortunate Events.


If you keep telling the same sad small story, you will keep living the same sad small life. Jean Houston

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

The answer to the "Where do I go from here?" question buzzing around in my head was to choose my own story. I chose to learn some lessons, I chose to share my story and not hide it behind a veneer of "my life is perfect", I chose to make some changes, to move forward, to change gears, and get on with things. "Count your many blessings name them one by one" is part of an old hymn but it has a very strong element of truth to it. There are always blessings if we look for them and the more we focus on those, the bad stuff becomes less looming and overpowering.

It's not an overnight fix - you can't do a 180 degree turn in two seconds and become Little Miss Sunshine-Peace,Love and Vegetables-Pollyanna in a flash, but I found some silver linings and they made all the difference. The ones I couldn't find, I set about creating. I'm writing my own story day by day and connecting the positive dots rather than the negative ones is making a huge difference. How's your story going?

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Step #4 on the Journey to Happiness ~ Choose Your Story - stop focusing on the bad stuff and start looking at your blessings

38 comments:

  1. Have to admit that I really needed to hear this. Especially lately with so much negative streaming through social media right now it is easy to make to assumption that the world is going to hell and people suck. I like your connecting the dots analogy. We choose which ones we focus on. Thank you for reminding me that how I choose to view unfortunate events is still in my control.

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    1. Hi Melissa - I'm glad my post gave you a positive slant on things. There will always be negative sucky things in life - but we don't have to dwell on them. Acknowledge them but also look at all the positives floating around too!

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  2. I needed to read this today as well.
    Im at the cross roads and KNOW BUT ALWAYS NEED REMINDING :-) it is my story to write and tell.

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    1. Exactly Carla - we get to tell our own story - and why would we choose to make it a miserable one when we can choose to make it triumphant instead :)

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  3. An excellent way to look at life. I love the dots analogy. Shared this! Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Alana - the dots gave me food for thought too and I like the idea that we still get the final choice in life - it's not all governed by circumstances beyond out control x

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  4. I don't know if you wrote this post for the past week or not but it sure fit.
    I loved it.
    I have always believed that we create our own story but sometimes, sometimes we get lost---or I get lost. Then I do something very rad (for me) like go to grad school or move to an area of the country where I probably shouldn't fit, know few people yet somehow manage to create a good life while keeping the people from the old life.
    I believe in choice and change but this past month....this past month almost did me in.
    ~pia
    http://courtingdestiny.com

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    1. Hi Pia - Americans have gone through such upheaval lately and I can understand how it breaks the hearts of those who aren't defined by the hatred and callousness. I think all we can do is choose to tell a better story and hope if enough people choose positive stories then things will turn themselves around eventually. xx

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  5. I think the dots analogy is very pertinent and easily applicable! Brene Brown talks a bit about your 'story' as well. It's interesting the ways we create our stories in our minds....and it's also great to know we have choice over the way we perceive our stories.

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    1. It's a concept I'm still coming to terms with Linda but it really resonates with me - I like the idea that I get some choice in the outcome and my life isn't dictated by a set of random circumstances.

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  6. Like you, I found the silver linings and focused on those rather than my unfortunate circumstances...like my summer of baldness due to chemo. Rather than focus on my bald head, I focused on the fact that I didn't have to shave...anywhere.

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    1. It's the same set of events but when you view it from a different angle it becomes so much easier to handle doesn't it Peggy? I hadn't realized you'd lost all your hair to chemo (one of my monsters under the bed!) So glad you found a way to smile about it - and not having to shave all summer would definitely be a bonus!

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  7. So true. We need to write our own stories. I have no patience any more for anybody who sucks the joy out of life. They are toxic.

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    1. Yes toxic people are now on my "no go" list - it's just not worth the pain of trying to meet them on any level other than their's and I don't want to go there.

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  8. Yes, exactly right. We do have that choice and we should exercise it wisely.
    Carol

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    1. It makes so much more sense to me to turn around a few degrees, accept the bad but also acknowledge the good - we have an awful lot to be thankful for :)

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  9. This post should be published in World News Today...way too much 'sucking the joy out of life' going on! For me...I choose to Dot the Positive. I am a sucker for stories with a happy ending. Good job...writing and making your story have a happy ending.

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    1. Thanks so much Sue - it's so important to me now days to choose what I focus my thoughts and energy on - one direction sucks you dry and another boosts your day - I know which one I want to choose!

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  10. it is easy to fall into a pity party during difficult times. Lord knows I have done it many times. Actually fighting a battle currently that I have to keep myself out of that pity party. Loved the words today and they are a balm to my soul. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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    1. Hi Michelle, I'll be thinking and praying for you while you go through this difficult time. I hope it doesn't last too long and that there are spots of sunshine along the way to lighten it all x

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  11. I love this visual of connecting the dots and choosing the dots you want to connect! All the miserable people seem to have miserable friends that are sucked in by their shared miserableness. This is not the path I want my dots to connect with on the path of connections which means sometimes you have to let go of the miserable people in your life to get your life story more positive.

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    1. I agree Haralee - sometimes you have to let some stuff (and some people) move out of your direct path. It doesn't stop you caring, but it means there are more positives to choose from. People who are settled in their negativity just drag you down with every encounter.

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    1. thank you AJ - I hope you enjoyed reading it.

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  13. I'm a big believer in "What you think about, you bring about." Good for you for looking toward the happier dots.

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    1. That's a very true philosophy Rebecca - and one I believe in too - focus your thoughts on good things and that helps you when the not-so-good things come along.

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  14. I decided to write my story into a memoir. It was the most therapeutic thing I've done. Writing my story made me connect the dots and see how all events, whether good or bad, made me who I am today - a more confident woman.

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    1. That would have been so empowering Glenda - to name and claim your story and to own the good and bad. It also helps you to see that there are a lot of good times mixed in with everything too.

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  15. I am always going to remember your thought 'look at the happier dots!' Thank you!!

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    1. my pleasure - and may you always have more happy dots than sad ones x

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  16. I love this, Leanne, and the whole connecting the dots image. I admire you so much for choosing joy and to look at the positives, even in the midst of your pain. Thanks for your transparency and in sharing your story with us!

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    1. I really liked the concept too Cathy - somewhere along the line we need to learn these things, otherwise we have no way of turning our story around. I'd hate to think that being a miserable old woman was my only destiny!

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  17. I'd never thought of connecting the dots..I think that I always picture my life story in a linear fashion. I love the idea of trying to reconnect the dots. A powerful image to see your life story in 3 different ways depending on the dots that you decide to join. I agree that we can rewrite our story. Not easy but possible!

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    1. I look at families where everyone grew up in the same home and yet we have vastly different memories of our time as children or teenagers - it's about how we connected the dots from that time. It's a really interesting concept.

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  18. I really enjoyed reading your post! My mom has always said we get more of what we focus on. How true.

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    1. Your mum was a very smart woman - dwelling on the bad stuff doesn't change anything and it just makes us miserable to be around.

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  19. I don't like to play the victim and I feel oppressed when I am around someone else who plays that game. I like to focus on hope and love and view the aggravations as fuel for a humorous blog post. There have been times when I have been grieving and suffered losses, when it was hard to view things this way, but I've always come through with the help of God, family and friends. I like your transparency, Leanne. It encourages others to lose the pretenses.

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    1. Thanks so much Molly - you have to be open and honest if you want to be real. Being able to blog about this sort of stuff gives me such a great outlet - nice to know that you find the it the same :)

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