My friend Jean has a uniquely insightful way of looking the world. She recently posted a note to her Facebook page that perfectly summed up something that I (and many other women I know) have been known to do to our detriment. She granted me permission to include it here. I will rarely include something that is not originally mine, but I think Jean says it as well as I could…
“One day a woman was driving home from work and she called her husband. he didn’t answer but she had learned what going into story was that day so instead of getting mad and thinking, oh he is probably watching TV, or maybe he is dating someone I don’t know about, or maybe he is sleeping, or maybe he is ignoring my call (and the list goes on…..), she decided she would not go into story that day. She came home from work, and her husband was fixing dinner. He had the table set, and she came up and hugged him, and they finished cooking together, and they had a wonderful evening. Normally, before she learned about how not to go into story she would make up stories in her mind without the facts if he didn’t answer the phone.
So many of the people I know go into story immediately before they find out the facts. How about finding out the facts before you “go into story”? Do you see how much anxiety you can save yourself in relationships, with family and friends? I can give you many examples but before jumping to a conclusion about a significant other, a friend, a sister, a brother, a parent, a teacher, an anyone, do not judge. Go on the facts after you find out what they are.
The story about the woman above is from a woman I know. We learned about going into story the same day, and on the way home from work she made that call and ALMOST went into her normal story. She said she would have been driving with her hands clutched hard to the wheel, her jaw clenched with anxiety, just overall upset so much she said she would practically be sweating, and by the time she walked in the door, she would be yelling at her husband. So when we learned not to go into story, there were about 30 of us who learned that day, we all told stories about when we had been in story. On a regular basis we had to let our teacher know if we went into story that week, this went on for 8 months and by the end of like 3 weeks everyone had gotten it down. So that woman was very special. She taught me a lot. She doesn’t want to take credit as she learned from someone else who learned from another and so on. I was lucky to learn this and put it into practice.”
I think most people “go into story” at various times. It’s our insecurity’s way of wreaking havoc using our imagination as a weapon. And all we have to do is refuse to play the game with ourselves. We lose nothing by stepping back, taking a breath, and waiting for the facts to be revealed. But we want answers now, even if those answers are manufactured by our own imagination, baring no relation to reality. Sometimes our insecurity has us in such a rush to locate some definitive answer, that we hardly seem to stop and notice if the answer is real or true.
I offer this up as Jean did, as an awareness. Something to put on the list of pitfalls to be mindful of as we navigate the sometimes bumpy roads of relationships.