The Story I’m Telling Myself

The Story I’m Telling Myself


TODAY I feel inspired to talk about the issue of time management. For years now, it's something I've been aware I struggle with. But recently I had a little bit of a breakthrough, which was that I related to the issue differently when the story came up in my mind.

As usual, I heard myself say, "I feel confused and overwhelmed! I don't know how to prioritize and manage my time." Then another little voice in my head said, "Well, that's not necessarily true. It's just a story you're telling yourself. Maybe it's a way to hide from what you're really feeling. What do you think that might be?"

“Fear?” I asked.


“But what am I afraid of? I don't really feel fear.”

“Just give it a little time to speak to you. See what comes up.”

So I did. And it relaxed a bit. I suspect I will be able to transform this story of mine, like the way I watched my mom transforming her story about losing things. She used to run around frantically, saying, “I’ve lost my wallet, my keys, my glasses, my Swiss Army knife, etc. etc. etc.!”

Now she just says calmly, “It’s not presenting itself to me at the moment.” The most surprising change is that the “missing” object usually shows up within a few minutes, sometimes even seconds later.

I can see now that it was a fear I had of being responsible. So when I tell myself I'm overwhelmed and confused, that I don't know how to prioritize and manage my time, really it's the scared child in me, saying, "I don't want to be responsible for making decisions and accountable for the outcomes. It‘s too scary. What if I make a mistake? What if people don‘t like the choices I make?"

I can hide from my fear by pretending that I'm powerless.

The truth is, a lot of times what I avoid doing, when I tell myself I'm overwhelmed and confused, I'm really just procrastinating, and it's because I don't want to do those things, so I pretend I'm powerless.

One of the things I've learned from NVC is that transformation requires unflinching honesty. If I really want to change, I have to be unflinchingly honest with myself. Nothing less will bring about the change I want. Everything else is just denial.

NVC has embedded in me the skills to observe what’s happening in my life, how I feel about it, and whether what’s going on inside of me is a story or if it’s pointing to a need.

For example, on Monday morning, I got up at 6:00am and left the house soon after I was up, went to Starbucks, and worked on things that were important to me for 3 hours. On Tuesday morning, I got up a little after 7:00am and drove across town before doing any work, which meant I didn’t start until 8:30am, losing 2.5 hours.

But I recognize that’s a judgment. I didn’t actually “lose” 2.5 hours. I just made different choices. Which choices best met my needs?

Often the key to empowerment and liberation lies in the way we describe events. My story of overwhelm and confusion is attempting to meet needs for safety when I’m feeling afraid. But once I can see this clearly, it creates the space for new experiences to come in that feel more empowering, and ultimately more liberating.


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