I recently had a conversation with a client about “storytelling”, the way we editorialize in our heads about what we observe and experience in the world around us. We often encounter an unpleasant situation or person and immediately react by becoming angry, outraged, and emotionally upset by the contact. We tell ourselves that what we see or hear or experience is real, that the other person is trying to hurt us, that we would never behave that way, that we have to defend ourselves, and so on
In fact, the entire incident is in our minds, and the experience may have had nothing whatsoever to do with us as individuals. Regardless, we personalize the interaction and build an entire story line around our egos and our reactions. This is what I call “storytelling”, and it’s a common human behavior. We’re ego-oriented and we view the world in terms of how it affects us personally. But if we become aware of this behavior and learn to stop it when it starts, our lives become more peaceful and less painful.
What I wanted to share here was the client’s brilliant way of handling storytelling. When she found herself doing that, she visualized a children’s’ storybook, like the Golden Books we had in my own youth. Then she told herself the story was over, and she visualized closing the book! That was a beautiful way to internalize the process and make it effective for the client. I had not suggested the technique. She came up with it on her own by making the mental connection between “storytelling” and “storybook”, and I told her she could take credit for a new tool in my own toolbox!