She looked her at phone with frustration and disgust. A text message had just come in. “Ugh, he makes me SO mad!”
We’d been sitting having coffee, and a wonderful time, until the text message had arrived. “What happened?” I asked.
“I just asked when he’d be home. He gets so ridiculous and acts like I’m controlling, but I’m not. I’m simply communicating. Someone has to let out the dogs. It’s not a big deal, but if I know when he’s going to be home then I can decide if I have to go home now or if I can finish some errands first.”
“Oh,” I nodded my head in acknowledgement, but there was more,
“He’s always like this. He just jumps to conclusions without even asking. He refuses to communicate.”
“Okay, what did he say?”
“He just said he’d be home after drinks. He’s all vague and sketchy. How am I supposed to know when drinks are going to be over? Why can’t he just communicate?” she continued, her anger and frustration evident. “I can just hear his voice ‘You’re too controlling.’ He’s always making me wait around for him.”
The one thing that’s changed my entire life: realizing that my thoughts aren’t true. The stories I’m telling about what other people do are optional. I can choose to tell stories that make me angry. I can choose to tell stories that make me happy. I can choose to not tell stories at all.
Our thoughts are opinions. My friend had all sorts of opinions about what her boyfriend’s text message meant. Her mind wanted to tell her a story about how frustrating and unreasonable he is. That story – that’s what made her angry. It wasn’t the text message.
She didn’t get to choose what he texted her. She didn’t get to choose how he behaved or didn’t behave. But, she did get to choose what she thought about it. She did get to choose, and was choosing, whether consciously or unconsciously, the story that she was telling about the text message.
This isn’t just thinking positive. It’s creating your life – creating how you go about each day by carefully examining and choosing thoughts that are in your best interest.
It wasn’t in her best interest to be angry at him.
When she’s angry she doesn’t communicate. She creates tension in her relationship. She isn’t proactive. She ruins her own day. When she is angry she acts like she is a victim. She thinks “he MADE me mad,” but he didn’t do anything except send a text message. She CHOSE to be mad, by choosing to believe and engage in the stories she was telling herself.
She could have told herself:
“I’m really glad we have phones and can communicate. I’m going to send a text back asking what time he thinks drinks will be over.”
But instead she chose to tell herself:
“He’s unreasonable and can’t communicate. He always wants an exact time from me but doesn’t do the same in return. He makes me wait around all night for him. He thinks I’m controlling.”
And then she doesn’t text him. She doesn’t ask him for a more specific time. She doesn’t communicate. She gets angry at him.
What we think and the stories that we tell about things that happen, that’s what creates our feelings. If you want to feel better and have better relationships, start questioning the stories you are telling about the things that happen.