I’m not sure where I originally read it, but curiosity led me to an article at Business Insider written by Drake Baer which linked back to Brené Brown’s exceptional Ted Talk on Vulnerability. If you can spare twenty minutes, I highly recommend spending it listening to this Ted Talk. Brown introduces this amazing phrase that will make it much easier to communicate your feelings, “The story I’m making up is…”
When we feel vulnerable we get defensive. When we express these feelings vocally the listener often hears it as an accusation and further, a misinterpretation of intent. It leads to an argument over what happened when really all you’re trying to do is convey to that you’re hurt and feel understood by the other party. Brown goes over an example like this from her own life. On vacation with a lover on a swim she felt distance when trying to connect, but really the distance had nothing to do with her and was in fact her lover panicking about the swim.
The words “The story I’m making up is…” will change conversations about your feelings by removing the accusatory interpretation. It immediately undercuts what you’re about to say by letting them know you are aware it isn’t what happened, but how you processed and felt about it. I’m excited to keep using this phrase to guide conversations in my personal life and avoid those arguments about ‘what happened’ that go nowhere and serve no one.
Side Note: This upcoming Saturday the 23rd is the Out of the Darkness walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If you’re free between 11AM-1PM meet at Grant Park to walk with others and reflect on how suicide has affected your life. There’s no cost to register and no cost to walk, but if you do have anything you can give to further prevention efforts please do.