“Yeah, no, that’s impossible, because I can’t do that.”
“Yeah, I really want more friends, but people are just so annoying.”
What they’re really rejecting is an edit to their story of misery and stuckness. And so, with these people, I usually take a different approach.
And what I do is I say something else. I say to them, “We’re all going to die.” I bet you’re really glad I’m not your therapist right now.
Because they look back at me the way you’re looking back at me right now, with this look of utter confusion. But then I explain that there’s a story that gets written about all of us, eventually. It’s called an obituary.
And I say that instead of being authors of our own unhappiness, we get to shape these stories while we’re still alive. We get to be the hero and not the victim in our stories, we get to choose what goes on the page that lives in our minds and shapes our realities.
I tell them that life is about deciding which stories to listen to and which ones need an edit. And that it’s worth the effort to go through a revision because there’s nothing more important to the quality of our lives than the stories we tell ourselves about them.
I say that when it comes to the stories of our lives, we should be aiming for our own personal Pulitzer Prize.
Now, most of us aren’t help-rejecting complainers, or at least we don’t believe we are. But it’s a role that is so easy to slip into when we feel anxious or angry or vulnerable.
So the next time you’re struggling with something, remember, we’re all going to die. And then pull out your editing tools and ask yourself: what do I want my story to be?
And then, go write your masterpiece.
Resources for Further Reading: