Most of what we experience and expect is coloured and shaped by the stories we tell ourselves. If your manager asks you a question, she’s micromanaging. If you feel sad, the situation must be sad. If people are laughing, they’re laughing at you. If your family is overweight, being overweight is your destiny. If a friend gives you a look, he’s annoyed by you.
There is no way to know for sure unless you ask – and trust the answer – but this may only be helpful with friends. A more practical approach is to simply notice when you might be making an assumption, when you’re thinking something subjective, not based on facts, so you can stop, slow down, and analyze realistically – rather than becoming the querulous colleague people avoid at work.
If it helps, you might choose to take action to problem solve, like discussing with your manager about the management style that works best with you or building healthy habits to prevent becoming overweight. As Cy Wakeman states in HR Magazine, “Your accountability, not your circumstances, determines your happiness.”
The stories we tell ourselves affects our well-being, relationships, and performance. We owe it to ourselves to give unhelpful thoughts a reality check, look to positive stories for inspiration, and take action.