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!

About Charlotte Foust, CPC

Certified Professional Coach specializing in Grief
This entry was posted in Emotions, Life Coaching and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Storytelling

  1. Thinking about this suggestion reminded me of the Japanese tradition of putting little sailboats in the river with the names on them of their loved ones who had passed away. The idea then came to me to image forgiveness for an old wound written on a sail that’s on a boat that is going away.

  2. Mary Romero says:

    I LOVE this! I can actually see this working with adult abuse cases in helping them handle the old hurts and pains. I like to use the visualization of writing it on a piece of paper and visualizing throwing it in a trash can…where it belongs (I suppose with today’s technology, you could use a shredder). Pretty on the ball client you have there. Kudo’s to the client for yet another tool!

    Mary Romero

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