Sunday, March 29, 2009

More on Stories

It's been an interesting week. We had a storm headed my way with baseball size hail, “rotations” in the storm that the weather forecasters said were likely to become tornadoes at any moment and heavy rain with thunder and lightening.

My daughter called to let me know she really is going to leave town and change graduate schools.

My son said, “They called the cops to the group home this morning.” He couldn't explain to me why.

In each of these cases my mind raced to make up stories. In each case, my first story was about loss or risk or things going terribly wrong. In each case, my second story was much better.

1) The storm could damage my roof.
2) The storm will weaken and I'll be fine.

1) I'll be all alone and what if I get hurt or really need my daughter?
2) My daughter has fabulous choices and I'll get to visit a place where I have friends and I'd love to see again.

1) My son is getting assaulted—or he's the one in trouble for something he's done.
2) Everything is okay and my son is well protected. When I find out what's going on, it will probably turn out to be nothing to worry about.

Now as it turned out, the storm DID weaken. My house and I WERE fine. My daughter IS excited about her choices and I know she and I will stay close no matter where she goes and I will enjoy visiting where she'll be. As for my son and the cops and the group home? Turns out they weren't cops, they were EMTs and the staff was worried that he was having a serious allergic reaction to something but he's fine.

I could have wasted time and energy being upset and anticipating things that never happened. But I spent too much of my life doing that—never again! Instead I'll continue to step back from my initial fear and reaction and choose to tell myself the positive stories and let myself be happy.
What are the new, positive stories you're learning to tell yourselves?

Sending blessings and safe and gentle ((((((hugs))))))),

April_optimist

9 comments:

Colleen said...

Thanks for your post. I usually worry too much. I need to remember to think of the positive things.

Just Be Real said...

April, thank you for your honesty. Worry and fear are in my vocabulary also, and I too need to remember to give it over to God. Blessings.

jumpinginpuddles said...

with the wind we tell ourselves two things
a we are going to get our roof blown off

b the house has bene sitting her for thirty years with no roof damage and severe storms

the second one calms us down much better ;) cant understand why LOL

Metamorphosis said...

Happy it turned out you had nothing to worry about. Our 'worst case scenarios' make life miserable, but it's such a relief to be wrong!

You did receive some news that could easily develop into a worst case scenario thought loop.

To answer your question: One positive story I tell myself is that I can try new ways to be creative, reinvent myself, and accomplish new things, without worrying about "success" or "failure" and over-thinking everything as if it were life or death.

Off topic, I found an awesome post by survivor GraceD to share with the survivor community. I highly recommend it! I hope the link works in this comment form, so that you and other survivors can read her post.

http://gracedavis.typepad.com/i_am_dr_lauras_worst_nigh/2008/06/fatherless-chil.html

When I think about it, it's not off topic, because what she wrote has the power to rewrite the guilt-inducing stories we were told.

gypsy-heart said...

Very sage post, April.

I was a chronic worrier..it began at age 10 after my parents divorced...it was part of survival then, but I think it became a habit.

I am pretty good at not allowing my mind to run away with the negative thoughts now. Though I still have to fight it sometimes.

Good energies and peace of heart to you,

~gypsy-heart

Ps we've been having the storms (with actual tornadoes) too. We needed the rain terribly, but not the hail, tornadoes, and lightning..and not all at once.
My Father has had over 9 inches and he just planted his spring garden. :(

jumpinginpuddles said...

youve won an award go to our blog

April_optimist said...

Colleen, I understand. I used to be the queen of imagining what could go wrong...

Just Be Real, Thanks for posting. And yes, that does make a difference--knowing it's in greater hands than our own.

Jumping in Puddles, LOL! Yes, amazing isn't it what a difference changing our story makes? :-) I'm going to try to get to read other's blogs in a day or two. I've just been sideswiped by my friend's death.

Metamorphosis, I love what you tell yourself! Will try to get to the link you posted SOON.

Gypsy-Heart, Yikes on all the storms! What is it with weather this year?

Kahless said...

I spend my time fretting about things that could happen. In reality, they dont seem to happen.

Though I think I enjoy fretting at some level probably.

April_optimist said...

Kahless, I don't think there's any doubt that we get used to feeling a certain way and thinking a certain way.