When discomfort and reactivity comes up in us, we have a few different options in how we relate to it.
We can take the scary stories behind it as true and identify with it and act on it.
We can avoid it or pretend it’s not there.
We can try to change it, transform it, make it into something different.
In all of these options, we take the stressful stories behind the issue as true and reinforce it. We indulge in the scary story.
There is another option, and that’s to meet what’s coming up and identify and question the stressful stories behind it. We can meet it with curiosity and love, listen to what it has to tell us, and see where it’s coming from, how it’s not true, and find what’s more true for us. And then allow this to sink in and inform how we are.
We can also set it aside for a while if the situation require something else from us first. If we don’t explore it later, it’s usually because we take the story as true and indulge in it. If we do explore it later, we don’t indulge in the story.
Here is an example:
Say I have a diffuse sense of dread and anxiety and a story behind it saying that something terrible will happen.
I can take it as true and act on it as if it’s true. This creates a lot of stress and can lead decisions I wouldn’t have made if I was less reactive.
I can pretend it’s not here and override it as best as I can. This doesn’t make it go away. It’s still here, influencing my perceptions and actions.
I can try to change it, for instance by telling myself everything will be OK. This also doesn’t make it go away so I’ll secretly believe it won’t be OK.
These are different ways of indulging in the stressful stories creating emotional issues. I perceive and act as if these scary stories are true and I don’t question them.
I can set it aside because the situation calls for me to do something else. This is fine since we cannot always take care of what comes up right there and then. It’s worth noticing if we use this to avoid looking at the stressful stories, which means we indulge in just those stories.
I can meet what comes up and even find some love for it, and not identify or question the stressful stories behind it. This is another way of indulging in the scary stories since – at some level – I’ll keep taking the scary stories as true.
There is really just one way to not indulge in the scary stories, although there are some variations in how we go about doing it.
I meet what’s coming up with curiosity and love, listen to the scary stories, and examine and question them and find what’s more true for me.
Identifying, exploring, and questioning the scary stories, finding what’s more true for me, and allowing this to sink in and inform how I am, is an essential step.