Reflection & Patterns

The Hidden Strength of Stories: Perception and Perspective

“Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

I disagree. Words are powerful.

Stories define us. Signed, verbal or unspoken – words can create and destroy. They have started wars, expressed love, changed beliefs and ended injustices.  Our language is powerful, yet often used carelessly.

Humans, in cultural history, seek understanding of the world around us and wish to share that knowledge with one another through stories.

These tales connect us to the world, and to each other: we’ve all been entranced by a poem, or the lilt of an unknown tongue? Told by body language or verbal – story is our natural state of sharing, and exploring our experiences.

The Falsehood of Facts 

We use language and tales to understand events and experiences. However, the way we think of, feel about or share a particular experience is filtered by our previous experiences. Our perception; the lens through which the world makes sense to us, is unique.

What happened is never 100% the same as the story we tell ourselves about it. And this belief in our own memories, trust in our self-talk or in that perception is often the cause of our struggles.

We experience so much pain because of the trust attached to our stories. But we only remember what our perception filtered into our mind, and another person’s view will often differ from our own.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy encourages us to question the stories we tell ourselves; just to think about the big picture.

“He always does this.”
Always? Every, single time? If not, that story isn’t 100% true.

“I should have prepared for this.”
Is it 100% your responsibility? Can you read minds? Why should you?

“She did it to hurt me.”
Where is your evidence for this? How can you know her aim? Could there be another explanation?

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P.S. If you would like some support to look at your stories, or want to change the path you’re currently taking, sign up for an introduction session and we can discuss techniques to break down those stories and manage new thoughts more effectively: before they hurt too deeply. Find out more about my coaching sessions here.