A Tale of Two Stories
by Jackie Foskett, CH
This exercise will help you experience the power of language to influence your outlook. Choose some aspect of your life to describe–finding a mate, landing your dream job, losing weight. Start by telling your story in negative terms: I can’t (limiting); I shouldn’t (constricting); it’s killing me (depressing/violent); I’m a jerk, fat, stupid (degrading). For example:
- I’ll never be able to lose all that weight.
- Finding a great partner is too hard. All the good ones are taken.
- My job is killing me, but it’s impossible to find a fulfilling career.
Pretty depressing, huh? You probably want to climb into bed, pull the covers over your head and never get up. But, wait! Feeling better is just a matter of editing. Turn your story around with positive language: I might explore (expanding); perhaps I’ll (possibility); what works for me is (suggestion); I’m learning to (pat on the back); I’m good at (appreciative). For example:
- I’m exploring different foods to support me in my weight loss program.
- There is an abundance of great people out there. I’m open to attracting a great partner!
- I’m really good with kids. Maybe I’ll look into a teaching career.
Aaaaah! Remember this exercise throughout the fall and upcoming holiday season. Whenever you find yourself telling a negative story or using destructive language, stop, take a breath, and replace the words and/or story with one that feels good and promotes a positive response in you and others!