Life’s too short for story telling

I am a big fan of Brene Brown. Her work on vulnerability has certainly shaped my own thinking. But I confess that I was dubious about her latest book. The title, Rising Strong, was off-putting. I presumed that she had sold old to populist pressure to tell the ‘victorious’ tale.

I am delighted to say I couldn’t be more wrong.

The central premise is the ‘rumble’ phase. The discomfort of facing into what is actually happening in myself in the moments after I get hooked on something uncomfortable.

The crucial question – what is actually going on? Not what is the instinctual emotional response and what is the story I am telling myself to support my action – but what is actually real.

Do I dare to sit in my discomfort sufficiently long to find what it is in me that is being triggered?

Anything I tell myself about them and what they are doing is most likely rubbish. Knowledge I gain at a later stage after I have recovered from the initial shock of the triggering may be helpful. But I can be sure that any story I concoct, in the absence of new data, in the wake of a triggering incident is a crock of shit.

Life is too short for story telling – can we just commit to dealing with what is real?

7 thoughts on “Life’s too short for story telling

  1. I am not sure I understand what you are saying here Mags, but I feel the intensity. I have continued my reading of “Rooted in Love” and I continue to appreciate your wisdom and ability to write and inspire that are beyond your years. Peace… Frank

  2. Provocative title, but, oh, no, Mags! We *need* stories (just like we need experiments) or we’ll never make it to this ‘reality’ you speak of; we’ll never draw near what is good and true and beautiful (even if we have to go thru the valley of the shadows, as you intimate). Facing pain, yes, and letting go of illusions, yes, and ascending and refining that we are able to take in more of reality, yes, and yes. Stories are nourishment . . . and/but/so it is important to know which wolf you are feeding, as the linked parable teaches: http://www.oneyoufeed.net/the-parable/.

    • Fair point – and I’m not surprised at your comeback. I think though that we need to treat the stories we tell a bit like a scientific hypothesis – does it stand up in the light of new data. The hypothesis in the absence of experimental data has little weight. Too often though we cling to the hypothesis in the light of data to the contrary. Similarly a powerful story which does actually stand up to the data of life experience can lead to greater truth. Too often though we go with the familiar despite information to the contrary.

      • OK, I get that. Also that we’re maybe talking a bit on (quite close) parallel lines? I’m coming from not being sure there is a reality independent of story. Perhaps some familiarity with Brown’s work would shed some light? (Clueless, here.) Certainly, it can be refreshingly life-giving in those triggery moments to go to the gap & to entertain options (“Here, have glass of bubbles, Anger. How’s about a few crudités, Shame? Cake for you, Pain? Oh, we’ve not met. Pain: you didn’t tell me you were bringing a friend! Sit down, take a load off …”😉) rather than going with the reflex (“Ugh! They’re back. PANIC STATIONS!)

  3. I think I’m reading your post differently. I understand you to mean that when I face an uncomfortable issue, I need to reflect about why I’m uncomfortable and what the issue or circumstance triggered in me rather than looking outside myself at the others involved. That is crucial in healing from deep wounds. Thank you.

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