Last Sunday I talked to my yoga class about storytelling. Not the kind of sweet stories you tell children but the stories you make up in your head that cause you fear, anxiety, questioning and doubt.
This is something I have struggled with for a long time. I completely freak myself out about things and build them up in my head to be these terrible scenarios that they completely are not. When I feel unease about a certain situation I immediately go into worst-case mode. And it drives me CRAZY. Especially given that 99.9% of the time everything turns out completely fine.
I especially struggle with this in regards to friendships and work. Example…I don’t hear from a close friend for months and then begin thinking they don’t want to be friends with me for a multitude of reasons I come up with. Then we connect and I realize that it was all totally stupid. We’re both so busy and it takes two taking action to make a relationship work. We pick up right where we left off. Example…I send an important work email and don’t immediately hear from my boss so I spend the next 24 hours thinking that I didn’t get the communication right and questioning what I could have done better. Then I get feedback that I was spot on and get frustrated with myself for letting the doubt and questioning even enter my mind.
So I talked to my yoga class about stopping to realize when we’re telling these stories in our heads. They’re mostly fiction. The truth of the matter is that everyone is so wrapped up in their own world and busy and dealing with the demands of their daily life.
We talked about this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. Actually, I think about my friends and family so much but my ratio of thinking to taking action about it is pretty bad. But I do find this quote is really applicable for when you get so worried about what everyone in your peripheral network is thinking of you.
#1 – They most likely are not thinking of you
#2 – If they are, you are NOT in control of what they perceive to be reality
You can only do the best you can and accept your own humanity. You are not a perfect robot. You are flawed. And you are not alone in your imperfection. We are all with you. People who truly love you will not judge you for this.
Let me tell you a true story. I taught a yoga class at Y2 this morning. Teaching yoga is easy for me. I feel completely comfortable and in my element when I’m doing it. It inspires me and lights me up. Well, this morning my class took a turn south and left me questioning myself and storytelling.
I made it through 40 minutes of the class flawlessly and then in the last 5 minutes of standing sequence everything went wrong. My cueing was off. Everyone was on different legs and doing different things. I got really flustered and finally ended up telling them to just freaking do whatever they hadn’t done on the other side. Self direct people! One new student left in the middle of all of this and my mind went to, “he’ll never come back to my class, this is such a clusterfuck, ugh.” I felt kind of guilty that people had carved out an hour of their day to come to my class and I screwed up their standing sequence. I told them, “this is just yoga, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing or what leg you’re doing it on as long as your breathing and moving” but I built up this whole story in my head that I failed them.
Then after class one student after another came up to tell me how awesome class was. The turning point was one sweet yogi who told me how happy she was that I struggled through because it was so refreshing for her to see that I’m not perfect. One person told me it was hysterical. Another that it was the “BEST wrong legged class she’d ever taken.”
This morning’s class was exactly the lesson I needed to reinforce my own message. A huge thank you to yoga for always delivering that dose of perspective that I need. I have written many times that I still struggle with hanging on to this image of perfection but one lesson at a time, its getting easier to show up to life in whatever state I may find myself in.
Tell me about storytelling? Is it something you find yourself doing? If so, how do you deal?