In this session we’re answering the question:
Why does it matter?
Scroll down to find key takeaways + homework.
Key Takeaways from Session #2 - Why Does it Matter?
They are a distraction from what’s really happening.
Humans are meaning making machines.
Stories are damaging to your relationships, with partners, your children, parents, and coworkers, your boss, even your friendships.
What are the causes of our stories?
Your reptile brain is trying to protect you - "This happened once, and therefore it's likely to happen again. And when it does, I'll be ready."
Our stories are our own, they stem from our own pre-existing fears.
Your amygdala brain is so much more reactive than your slower neocortex brain.
Wired magazine excerpt from the video to help us to understand this from a scientific perspective:
“Assessing and reacting to risk is one of the most important things a living creature has to deal with, and there's a very primitive part of the brain that has that job. It's the amygdala, and it sits right above the brainstem, in what's called the medial temporal lobe. The amygdala is responsible for processing base emotions that come from sensory inputs, like anger, avoidance, defensiveness and fear. It's an old part of the brain, and seems to have originated in early fishes…
...We humans have a completely different pathway to cope with analyzing risk. It's the neocortex, a more advanced part of the brain that developed very recently, evolutionarily speaking, and only appears in mammals. It's intelligent and analytic. It can reason. It can make more nuanced trade-offs. It's also much slower...
...So here's the first fundamental problem: We have two systems for reacting to risk – a primitive intuitive system and a more advanced analytic system – and they're operating in parallel. It's hard for the neocortex to contradict the amygdala.
In both cases, your body is saying: "This happened once, and therefore it's likely to happen again. And when it does, I'll be ready."
Homework(fun) from Session #2 - Why Does it Matter?
This weeks’ homework/fun will be a little more challenging than last weeks because it’s much easier to see someone else’s story than your own. While witnessing has value, it won’t get you to the story of YOUR life. This work is key to being able to ultimately identify the story of YOUR LIFE. Embrace it!
Pay attention throughout your day - where did you make up a story about a set of facts?
Try to identify what happened vs What you made up, and how you felt.
Take notes (a notebook, a journal, on your phone or a voice memo - somewhere handy you can get to all day). Most important is to SET UP A CONSISTENT ACCESSIBLE SYSTEM!!!
Each night, choose one juicy story to journal about. What happened, and what was the story you made up. How did it feel to catch yourself in that story? How was it to distinguish between the facts and the story? When you just look at the facts, how does that make you feel? What is a more empowering story you could have made up about these facts? Or, when you are just looking at what actually happened, does it feel neutral?
Hopefully you’ll catch yourself in some serious storytelling. It’s pretty amazing when you begin to discern ‘what happened’ vs ‘what are the stories you are making up about what happened’. Like when Amy got so mad at her daughter for not doing the laundry, except, she was doing the laundry.
Bonus video from Positive Intelligence
Here are some bonus journal prompts from writingthroughlife.com :
What stories do you tell about your abilities and talents? Do you limit yourself in your stories, give yourself license to do the extraordinary, or somewhere in between?
What is the story you tell most often about your childhood and/or your family of origin? How does this story make you feel? How does this story mirror what you think about yourself?
What recurring themes emerge in your stories about your relationships with others? If someone else were to tell you those same stories, how do you think you’d view that person?
Make a list of five or more of your “positive” qualities. Choose several of these qualities and write why you think you have these qualities, using examples from your life (stories about yourself). How has telling these stories reinforced these qualities?
Repeat #4 with a list of five or more “negative” qualities and their stories.
Write about how having these negative qualities has helped you (For example, if stubbornness is listed as a negative quality, how has being stubborn benefited you during your life?) After writing about a quality’s benefits, does it still seem to be one of your worst qualities? If yes, why do you think so? If no, did looking at the beneficial side of that quality make you think differently about it?
Look through past journal entries until you find a story about yourself in which you’ve portrayed yourself as negative, limited, or victimized. Without rewriting the facts of an event, rewrite the story with a more positive or freeing emphasis. Which story is the “true” story? Does rewriting the story make you feel differently about the past? If so, how?
We are honored by your trust in us, and it’s our deepest wish that you enjoy this and are finding value in this work.
Let’s go sisters,
Pam + Amy