Making Your Own Story Can Be Scary!

Paula Shoup, guest blogger
Fun. Feisty. Fabulous! Guest


Have you noticed how story telling is everywhere now? I think the marketing gurus and politicians all figured out how we are hard wired for patterns and patterns are stories.

I love a good one too, what I don’t love is how my brain (or mind) can immediately make up a story that is not based on any real fact and then the especially sneaky thing is that I get rewarded with a shot of dopamine for that story whether it is true or not. The neurologists explain this as our brain loving patterns that appear to keep us safe and secure.

The neurologic science of this is fascinating, we are rewarded chemically for something that we just completely made up. It’s an example of how our deeper “wiring” has not caught up with our quickly changing world. The mind’s story telling and physiological chemical reward are from a time when as humans we needed them for protection and safety. Unfortunately, now they’re more of a disservice in misleading us.

This is especially true when faced with a vacuum of information, rather than be left wondering or wandering in uncertainty, I’ll make up a story to give me a feeling of control where there really is none. Now that I’m aware of this, I recognize it and if it’s with another person, I’ll start the conversation with them by saying, “The story I’m making up aboutyour lack of getting back to me is that I’m a low priority to you, is that true?” or something like that. The big difference is that instead of accusing them, I’m asking with genuine curiosity and recognition that I am making up the story and I want to understand the truth.

Or a more simplified story is made up to create a feeling of security and understanding when the issue is too complex and overwhelming to comprehend. For example, terrorism: it is a complicated challenge that can not be boiled down to good guys and bad guys and yet it is so enticing to believe that peace can be won by just getting rid of the bad guys or removing that one political regime when the reality is that the issue cannot be put into compartmentalized boxes with neat packaging that can be removed and then all is well. The same can be said for a toxic organizational culture. It is complicated. It takes work and time and a lot of smart people to change it.

It takes learning new skills and practice to recognize, shift and re-write the stories your mind wants to naturally make up and believe.

It is worth the work to be more awake in reality.

I share the powerful research and tools that Brené Brown, PhD developed to do this work (and more) in the Rising Strong™ workshop I get to facilitate. Click this link for more details and to register, the next one is on March 25th, 2017. I’d love to see you there.

In the meantime, don’t believe those stories your mind is telling you to keep you “safe” in the moment. Check them out by getting curious about the real and possibly messy complicated truth which is where you really want to go.

For more information about Paula, visit her website at:

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