One Simple Powerful Phrase that Will Change Your Thinking.
Yes! You are reading correctly. I know it sounds unrealistic and sounds too good to be true Let me elaborate.
Every day we experience life. These experiences develop into little stories. The stories that impact us the most (positive and negative) are stored internally. They entail details of our experiences, about people, places and about life in general. The stories significantly impact how we feel. If the stories are positive, we tend to feel good. If the stories are negative, we tend to lose hope.
The stories we tell ourselves don’t just influence how we feel – they alter what we see, what we experience, and what we know to be true. This is one of the primary reasons multiple people can go through the same experience, but explain it differently. E.g. People witness the same accident but the details will be different – feeling, colour, texture, behaviour, etc. Each of us may enter a shared experience with a different story echoing through our mind. Our unique story – our inner dialogue – alters the way we feel every step of the way, and so each of us exits this shared experience with a slightly different feeling about what just happened.
If we want to get on the same page with one another, and garner a better understanding of reality, we must do a little work.
Perspective is Everything – Blindfold people and put an elephant in front of them – each person’s interpretation.
Our wide-range of different painful past experiences: Being deeply heartbroken, lost our parents, siblings or children to accidents and illnesses, dealt with infidelity, fired from jobs discriminated against for various reasons, being bullied, etc. At times, we experience a situation that triggers our painful story from the past, it shifts our perspective in the present – it narrows it.
It’s just a defence mechanism to protect us from uncertainty and fear. Our mind does not like the discomfort of uncertainty and fear. So, our mind uses the information from our past stories to eliminate the doubts and fears. Our old stories and past experiences are filters to make better sense of everything in the present. And while this approach works sometimes, other times our old stories and past experiences hinder us.
This is where a little reframing helps us move forward. Reframing tools have been proven to change our thoughts and stretch our perspectives. Today, I want to take a brief look at one of these reframing tools with you…
1 Simple Phrase that can change your thinking:
“There is a real possibility that …” – A Reframing Tool
Many of the biggest misunderstandings in life could be avoided if we would simply take the time to ask, Is there another side to the story.
Here’s how it works…
“There is a real possibility that …” can be applied to any life situation,
For example, perhaps your boyfriend didn’t call you in the morning like they said they would. You’re feeling upset because you’re obviously not important to him. When you catch, yourself feeling this way, use the phrase:
“The story I am telling myself is that he didn’t call me because I’m not important to him.”
Then ask yourself:
- Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
- Can I absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
- How do I feel and behave, what happens, when i believe that thought or story?
Give yourself the space to think it all through with an open mind and kindness.
“I don’t know why he has not called yet, but there is a real possibility that…”
- “…he is extremely busy at work.”
- “…he had an early meeting so he switched off his phone.”
- “…his phone battery is dead.”
- “…forgot his phone in the car.”
Challenge Yourself to Think Differently
“There is a real possibility that…” and the three related questions gives you a tool for revisiting and reframing confusing situations that arise in your life. Detach yourself from the stories you’re telling yourself. Go deeper into reality. Don’t just look at the surface. Explore. Observe without presuming. Discover. With an objective mindset, which allows you to make better decisions and choices about everything.
So, challenge yourself to use this tool… to think differently.
“Who knows what you’ll see when you stop looking through a lens drastically narrowed by half-truths, and you start seeing things with a clearer mind. Maybe you’ll start seeing things you never saw before. Maybe you’ll start experiencing things you never experienced before. Maybe you’ll learn lots of new lessons you needed to learn. And maybe you’ll gradually become the person you always knew you could be.”
Thought for the Road…
At the very least, I hope this post reminds you that positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time – it’s about accepting what happens every moment, being aware and objective, and making the very best of every situation.