With the holidays coming up there will be a plethora of opportunities to tell stories, at least if your family is like mine. This year, give some thought to the kind of stories you tell. What you say has the power to either torpedo someone’s confidence and self image, or generate a positive affirmation for health.
I remember a dinner with a friend. We talked about people who trouble us, and those who in former times brought joy and now are gone. Then she asked: “How’s _____ ?”
I paused and remembered a sweet, generous thing this person did for me. No one knew about it. Why? I had not told this good story.
We all have a repertoire of stories we repeat. We tell them to others, and we repeat them to ourselves in a little tape that plays inside our heads.
My favorite story right now? In a year when I hiked Colorado trails, mountain biked in Moab, and got pulled down on ice by my seventy-pound dog, my most serious injury came from tripping on a tomato cage in my vegetable garden!
Either out loud or to ourselves, we tend to tell the same stories over and over. Why don’t we talk more about good things?
Here are not-so-good-stories I tell:
- When I found roaches crawling all around a resident’s bed in a nursing home.
- That awful time my car was stolen.
- How someone put my dog to sleep without telling me.
Yet I could tell stories about good things:
- Sweet friends who shared good times with me without making me feel ashamed or embarrassed during my two years of unemployment.
- How often my in laws gave me compliments.
- The aunt and sister who take my calls late at night when I’m driving and need someone to talk to to stay awake.
If I told these stories more often I would no doubt lift my mood and feel more positive. Why don’t I?
We get more sympathy from tales of trouble
People rally to disaster, and for that, I am grateful since I have had my share of disasters. Deep friendships and soul connections are often forged during adversity. It can be a beautiful thing.
Yet if I habitually trot out my stories of tragedy as a way to connect with people, I risk getting stuck in misery. I attract friends who enjoy the drama of suffering, when I want to spend time with people who love life.
We get more laughs talking about mishaps
This is me! I am guilty!
Did I ever tell you about the time my new puppy dug up her predecessor’s stinky carcass from an illegal burial place in our posh subdivision?
You did? I told you that? Yes, I thought so. 😊
We fear jealousy and resentment if we talk about successes and blessings
This is true. It’s sad. The Bible says we are to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. In my opinion, it can be easier to find weeping friends than rejoicing friends.
When I started a master mind group one big discovery was how powerful it is to talk about wins. I gained energy when I talked about what went well in my week. I grew courageous when others cheered for my progress.
Positive Affirmation for Health
A fascinating 2018 study noted that positive talk (affirming statements) improved health behavior change. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25133846/ What you tell yourself about yourself influences who you become! While our minds seem attracted to negative thoughts and stories, an “approach mindset” works better than an “avoidance mindset” when it comes to achieving the life changes you want. https://deborahrankinrd.com/stop-eating-too-much-during-the-holidays/
What’s Your Positive Affirmation for Health?
As you gather with friends and family, call out the good memories, the good stories, the people who influenced you for the better. Such positive affirmations for health encourage others, and help you.
Do you have good stories? Promise to tell them. Be sure to listen when others tell theirs. Problems, hurts, and frustrations are a real part of life, however. Express them too, perhaps in a daily journaling practice. For help finding time to journal, fill in your information below and get my free guide “Three Ways To Keep Journaling Even When Every Day Is Different.”
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