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141 The Danger of Stories and Assumptions

by Claudine Sweeney
August 10th 2022

Stories and assumptions don’t just impact our inner peace…they can also have a MAJOR impact on our relationships. This week we have a special guest, life coach and developer of The Adult Chair Mode... More

Welcome to the Rise up and Shine on vacation with her family. We have a very special friend and former neighbor Michelle Michelle, holistic life coach, motivational speaker and developer of the adult chair, a transformational model of self realization. Her extraordinary work has helped people all over the world improve their relationships, become unstuck and develop healthy self love. And we are about all of that here on the Rise up and Shine podcast Today we're talking about stories and assumptions. It's something we all do and it has the potential to damage our relationships, our emotional well being in our life in general. Listen in as we share how my stories and assumptions almost ruined our 15 year friendship will also share practical is to bust the stories in our life that do not serve us.

I hope you enjoyed this episode. I know we enjoyed recording it. Hey Claudine, Hey Michelle, Hey Claudine good to be here with you today. I know it's so good to be here with you. To how fun is this. Very fun, incredibly fun. Yeah. So I guess we're two friends today and coaches and people helpers, ex neighbors, neighbors. Yeah, that's how we met. Yeah. Talking about a very, very, very important subject. Yes. Yes. Today we're talking about stories and assumptions and it's so relatable for us because in one way our friendship almost ended a few years ago because of stories and assumptions and as we were reminiscing it about it the other day, we thought this is a powerful topic. We need to share this with others because I wonder how many friendships or relationships are damaged by stories and assumptions. I'm Gonna say from 25 years as a therapist and life coach a ton.

And it's not just, you know, stories and assumptions are things that plague every aspect of our lives. Whether it be, Uh again, friendships like you and I, I mean what a 15 year relationship that almost ended over story person, but also like in work relationships, families, friendships. I mean any kind of relationship is affected by stories and assumptions. And we live in stories and assumptions as humans like every single day we do. Yeah. Yeah. And this was really powerful. So why don't, why don't I share a little bit about our story really? Mostly me. But um, so you and I met about 15 years ago, we were neighbors in Nashville and we built this great friendship and it's been great. And then I moved after about two years, I moved back to southern California, but every year I come back and visit. So we always had that time together, we stayed connected when I've come back every year to visit.

Um, and then one particular year, my husband and I had the opportunity to go to a wedding kind of in the middle of the year. It was not, it was not, you normally would come and visit me in Nashville in august every year. Yes, we spent a few days together and stay with me and I always expected you to be there in august yeah, So this was a different month and I can't remember what it was, but I remember like March, I think if I go back, I'm thinking back. Yeah. Because had it been in the fall, I would have said, well, I'll see you in a few weeks, right? Must have been in the middle of the year and it was kind of spontaneous on our part. So I of course wanted to see you. And so I texted you several times telling you that I was coming out on these particular dates and that I would love to see you. That we would love to see you and Graham and spend some time together and connect and oh, what fun. So I didn't hear back from you at all. And then I even remember calling, but I left a message just like, Hey Michelle's Claudine just calling to say, hey, I figured that would trigger you.

Like, oh yeah, she texted me, I should get back to her because I knew you were busy. You were building your business and you were super busy. Um, I think the part, what happened to me too is you have done either a podcast or a post and you had talked about Seasons of Friendships. Right, okay, so wait, hold on a second. You're jumping way too far ahead. So I want to know what was going through your mind. So you're texting me because this is what we do as humans. Every human doesn't. So you're texting me? Hey, I'm coming out to the wedding first time. Someone doesn't text back. It's like, yeah, they might have missed it or they're busy or I know for myself that's why for me I don't even read text right away because I'll look at them and I'm like, I don't have time to respond to you, so I'll answer it like tomorrow, or I'll answer it later. So sometimes I do that and I assume there's my assumption that other people do it too, so they don't get back to me immediately. Sometimes I'm like, yeah, it's okay. Not everyone has their phone glued on them. So what was going through your mind first time?

Yeah, maybe she didn't get it the second time. I know she's super busy. It probably exactly what you just said. That was my assumption as well. Yeah, then I left a voice message, but it didn't refer to anything on the text. I thought it would trigger you. Okay, so now you're making this is what's so mind blowing all of the assumptions we make, like, so you then leave me a message a phone message and you say, well you're thinking, excuse me, I'm going to assume that now Michelle's gonna check her text because I'm sure it's gonna trigger her memory. Like, oh yeah, Claudine has been texting me right? Yeah, so that I leave a very generic AIDS, Claudine, which I don't normally call you in the middle of the year either. Yeah. So I thought, well, surely she'll call me back. Right? Right. Even though it was a very, I didn't ask for a call back. Yeah, I didn't leave any information. It was very like, hey, it's claudine because at this point in time are you starting to feel like, wait, what the heck is she doing? Why isn't she texted me back quite yet?

Okay. But then I think like, within that week I see this text or yeah, yeah. And it talked about friendships for a season. Suddenly I'm like, I must be her. Like, now here's my story. She's seen my text and she's trying to give me a message. Like I'm really thinking because I would post a post on social specific for just you. Yeah. So no, you know what it was? I think it was the, I think it might have been um as I think back, I might have done the podcast on how to end relationships gracefully or, and when relationships and you know, something like that. I did, I did, I remember doing a podcast on that. So now I'm thinking my story is, oh, she was trying to communicate a message to me, right? Such an assumption. Right? But you're trying to figure out why is she not? Why not? Yeah, okay. So now my story is, well, I guess maybe I'm one of those at the same time.

I'm like no, we're way too. We have too much. That's not right. But this story is kind of in the back of my mind and I think this is what happens to so many people and we don't discuss it. And I never call and made a specific message like hey, because I'm to a certain degree of a conflict avoider. I don't wanna, you know, I don't want to get rejected. I don't want to call and say, hey, are you trying to communicate with me that our friendship hear that? So then we finally go on the trip and I tell my husband this and he's like, well let's just stop by the house. So we drive by your house and there's all these cars in the driveway, right? Like you never have, I live next door to you literally side by side. Like I've never seen this many cars. They're all my new friends, I got rid of you. So, so that's the story right? Like oh look she has all these. So then so then my husband's like go knock on the door. I'm like no look she's got all these friends over. I can't go knock on the door so we go do whatever we did and then the next day we're getting ready to leave.

So I said let's drop by one more time. And this time I had paper and I thought well I'll leave her a note. And so I wrote the note and I said, hey neighbor because we used to call each other that we still do now across the country. And I wrote it in a pink highlighter and I thought surely you would know it's me and then you never called me. So now I'm like, my husband's like this is so silly. Like he's like, why? I don't understand, like why wouldn't you just knock this time? I did knock on the door but no one answered apparently had been out a while. So I developed these all these stories and assumptions. Then I go home and I must have posted some pictures of being being in Nashville. So then now I don't even remember, I remember, I have to tell you, I remember getting Graham got the note on the, did you leave it on the door? I think I was out on a walk. And uh and and he said here and I'm looking at it and I'm like what neighbor?

And I did. I definitely loved my neighbor next door. This is the last house we lived in. Um Jill live next door and I'm thinking, but it doesn't, I'm in town. Whatever. What did you say? I'm here for a wedding and remember what I said. But I remember reading the note like this can't be from Jill because Claudine is no, I didn't even think I said this can't be from Jill, my next door neighbor who I definitely, I mean we got very close, you know, living next door to her. But it was something that didn't make sense. Like she's in town for a wedding. I'm like, what? And I remember thinking only Claudine calls me hey neighbor, like we still call each other hey neighbor. But it didn't, I couldn't understand like, but she would have called me if she was in town why she just dropped. That's so random. And I remember thinking, I can't believe she would have reached out to me like that all about breezes in and doesn't even tell me. And and then, so then, and then you post I posted.

Yeah. And then you're like, are you in town like question mark? And then I think I finally texted your, I don't know. I was like, yeah, I tried reaching you. So the funny thing is you, you could have had you not written on are you in town? You could have stayed in storage assumption and really had a big attitude like I thought we were so much closer. She comes to Nashville. She doesn't even call me. She doesn't text me nothing or I had called, but I hadn't told you I was coming. I had just called out of the blue. So had you not posted, we would have never been able to have that conversation. And as it turns out, I had been texting your landline, which we finally figured out like, because then I think we did jump on a call. We're like, what? Why did you let me know? And you're like, I've been I've been calling you. Like, I showed screenshots of my text. But yes, and that that was when you showed me your text and I said, hello, that's my that's my landline.

What are you doing? For some reason? Usually when you text the land and it kicks it back or it'll have a little error message and it wasn't doing that. So here I had all these texts that you weren't responding and one generic phone call. And um, you know, and then you saw my pictures and started thinking what's wrong with her. But it's so powerful to me because I think we do this all the time. I've had sessions with clients as I'm sure you have, but where they're like, well, I didn't get invited to the party and all of a sudden that lack of invitation becomes this whole story. And there's so many assumptions and it can really destroy relationships. That's why we wanted to talk about this because I think that I did call you. I mean, I, for me, I'm like, this is ridiculous. Like, what is going on. So I called you? We figured it out immediately and we had a great laugh about it, but you were dear. I might add a let me add how you are feeling.

I'm sure that the loss of friendship with me? You were tortured. I was confused. I'm like why would she not want to be friends with me? After all we've been through. It was very confusing, but had I not heard that podcast or that whatever it was a post, I think it was a podcast. Had I not heard that, that just added to my story, which is what we do as humans. So we collect, it's interesting, we collect data to reinforce the story exactly. Which is so insane. And, and, and it's interesting, it's kind of like um like if you want to buy a new car, you know, I want to go get a whatever, pick any car you want, you know, a white Lexus, I want a white Lexus is just say, then everywhere you look is a white Lexus like that. It's the same kind of thing we attract in and we will sort the eyes and the brain will sort for anything to reinforce what my bill belief is, not to say that that belief is accurate or what my story is. So the story was you so you kept building the story, but again, this is what people do and it's, it creates so much suffering and so much anxiety and so much, it's just it's hurt, it hurts and pain and so much so in the adult chair, what we talk about um is this is one of my favorite things to do, we've got to bust our stories.

So healthy adults, what we do as healthy adults is we learn to bust those stories and the moment we start falling into story and assumption and the brain just automatically automatically do that. We go there and we start building this incorrect story. What we do is we ask, wait a minute, what's fact and truth? Like really, what's 100% fact and truth? What do I know? That's 100% fact and truth. And so let's go back to our story. We could go back there and apply that 100% fact and truth. You didn't know if I got the messages or not. So from your perspective though, you're reaching out and I'm ignoring you and your assumption or story was I don't want to be friends with you. And it's like, wait, is that 100% fact in truth? You know, you made that assumption, which is again, this is what we do is what I do. Humans do it all the time every day instead of pulling back going, let me try even another way to reach her because this doesn't make sense. Like Michelle wouldn't do this to me. You know, we have such a heart based connection.

Like, you know, there's no reason for it side twist to this, which is so much of the work that you do especially and that I do as well is that our past come into play here and because I have past friendships with women that have ended just like that. It played into it. I'm like, oh this is another friend that just is quitting on our friendship without letting me in on it. And so even though those happened when I was a lot younger and I was a teen or early twenties, it plays into that that's the lens that I see friendships out of. So it made sense to me. You know, rationally that this story would develop because I'm like this is a past pattern. So like this way the ego says like there's evidence, I have evidence right here. This has happened before. Absolutely happening again. And fact and truth was I had texted you and you hadn't responded, but that wasn't the whole truth because we can get stuck on our actions and our behavioral. I did this, I said this, but the point, the part that was missing from the story was that you had never received Yes, yes, I had sent them.

And yes, it's true. You didn't respond. But the missing piece. The important piece was you had never received the message is so funny because this, this just happened even with my sister recently. Um we're working. I referred her to this body worker because she was having some back pain. I said, oh you, you kind of called this woman, she's amazing. So my sister reached out to her and repeatedly reached out to her and this woman Theresa, she did not get back to my sister. So Nicole says to me like what is wrong with Theresa? Like she's not getting back to me like this is ridiculous, what kind of business is she running? And she went on and on and on and I'm like protecting Teresa of course, I'm like what are you talking about? Like I love Teresa, she's she's like the best. She's amazing. No way. And uh and then I talked to Teresa so I walk into my next appointment with Teresa and Teresa is like what's up with your sister? She's responded to me and I go what do you mean? So what? This is funny, this is like again story, assumptions that play again? What happened was there was something wrong with my sister?

My sister has an iphone, Teresa has like a droid or google me the same thing droid. And anyway there was some mix up with my sister's phone where she was texting Teresa and Teresa was seeing her text. But when Teresa would text, Nicole, it wasn't going into Nicole's text. It was like it. And then Nicole said I said uh she goes oh my gosh you know the woman that comes and helps me with the house, you know she's not answering me, that's why she is a joy to and this person and I said I wonder all the people that are trying to reach you that are not reaching you and they're like upset with you because you aren't responding or So they think, you know? And uh yeah, she was like, oh my God, So she had to go to the Apple store and all these texts came through all these voicemails from people that don't have iphones. So think about those again. You don't know what's going on other people. Yeah. And that's why we're talking about this today because I do think it happens all the time.

And had you stayed in assumption or had an attitude that I came to town, it could have ended our friendship there because I wouldn't have pursued you anymore. Like, I would have been like, okay, well I've texted three times. I called, I left a note like I'm done. It's on her now. And you had said, well how could Claudine come to Nashville and not call me and thought, well, I'll just wait till next august. I don't think I would have called you just because I would have stayed hurt even though I left you and valued our friendship. I think the hurt and wanting to deal with it would have been too much. So I would have yet come again to Nashville and not seeing you and thankfully you took that one step of were you here? You know, even responding to the post? I was like, yeah, I tried reaching you, but that made such a difference. And I think how often like, even with your sister and and Teresa if you hadn't been a middle person that would have ended up ended a business. Yeah. My sister was like what kind of business is she running over there? She's got an amazing business talking about, you know?

Yeah. So true. So true. So I just want to share like again, how do we work with stories and assumptions? So let's talk about that just for a moment, number one, we've got to slow down because you know, the ego gets tripped up and then we go into stories and assumptions and again we look for more, it looks for more evidence. Uh oh my gosh, well they're doing this and I saw them do that. I've got the evidence from the past and we, you know, cobbled together all this evidence that may or may not be 100% fact and truth and we've got to be be courageous enough. And again, I'm going to talk about the adult chair because that's what I do. But the adult chair is when we're sitting in our adult chair, we're sitting in the healthiest version of self, right? Emotionally, emotionally speaking. And what we want to do is especially when these relationships are important is to reach out and say, hey, can you help me understand something? You know, it's not but but what happens is we go into a defense and can go into attack mode, we can go into blame blame is all from the ego.

You know, it's like I'm blaming. I mean, you know, again more and more stories and assumptions. I'm gonna go tell my mother, I'm gonna go tell my friends, can you believe so and so did this to me and then they validate the story instead of validating what's true. So what we want to do is cut through all of that and really go into meeting with that person that you feel like or think has hurt you forgotten to invite you to the party. You know, not texted you back 10 times like, hey, you reach out and you don't reach out via text, you reached out, call them or meet with them in person and you say, hey, can you help me? Can you help me understand? Like what's going on? You know, I didn't get invited to your party. You didn't respond to me on text. I'm confused and keep digging until you reach them like you and I had to do um Until we, until you figure out really what is not just what you think might be true, but 100% facts and truth.

If that person says I just don't want to be friends with you anymore, there's your answer and then you got to sit in that pain in the grave. But then you've got your answer versus well what do you mean? I did invite you to that party? It was an invite. Well I didn't get it. We'll check your spam in there. It is right. And in the meantime, you know, you're making up stories about why you didn't invited. How awful that person is. So true. Yeah, it's so damaging. And I like what you said about um staying in fact and truth. And one of the things I've seen with so many women, especially that's why I work with is that they believe their feelings are fact and true. This is good. Yeah. I feel it therefore it must be true, right? Or I have this thought about it. So therefore that must be true. And really the work that you do specifically and also as well as helping people see the fact and true separate from their feelings or their thoughts. So give an example of that, that's a really good point. So an example would be, for example, someone says or does something and you feel hurt.

So therefore it's true that their behavior was wrong, right or bad because you feel the pain. So therefore it was something that was true and factual that happened even though like with us, with our story, you actually didn't do anything. But I felt hurt. I felt disappointment. So it was true that you rejected me. That's the way people perceive it, right? Because I'm feeling it and their behavior triggered those feelings. Therefore that's true and factual of course when we dig deeper we realized, well you never even received them. So therefore it wasn't true. You weren't rejecting me, But it felt like rejection? It felt like disappointment and honestly it was I mean if it were true, if it were true it was, but you're absolutely right, people go right into that feeling and the feeling feels bad and then again, I'm going to use the adult chair model which is like that's the under child part of us, that part that is having these feelings. So then the ego comes in and makes up a story about to try to soften the bad feeling.

But the problem is is it probably isn't true. I read something, I wish I could remember the source. I say this all the time. It's like 97% of the time that we're in stories and assumptions, they're incorrect, 97% of the time, That's a lot. That's almost all. Um so I think about trying to think of an example that I have, I remember someone came in, I was that was it like a some sort of gathering or party or something and I remember someone gave me a look, you know, one of those, you know, and I was like what the hell is there a problem? You know? Why would they look at me like that? Like, you know, she's so mean, why why did she rolled her eyes at me? This is what I this is my thought and of course I was saying next one of my friends and I was like, did you see someone, So she just rolled her eyes at me like why is she treating me that way, blah blah blah blah blah. Well then you find out later. She didn't roll her eyes at me. She was, someone was telling her story and she was rolling her eyes about the story, but I was across the room and I was not involved in that story.

So those kinds of things happen all the time, all the time and then we have to consider too, you know sometimes people when they act ugly, let's just use that word or hurtful, let's use that word whether it be again friend, family, business person, I don't care who it is if someone comes at us and they treat us in an unkind way, we have to consider the circumstance like what the heck is going on? Like if that's not normal behavior for them then what's going on? So instead of falling into storing assumption, we have to again consider like broaden the perspective, raise your awareness and say wait a minute what else could be true again instead of calling your friend for the validation that so and so is being mean, wait a minute. So and so just lost their best friend or lost their parents or had a fight with their spouse this morning and you didn't even know about it, you know or let's consider and then you gotta look at evidence from the past.

Like wait we've been really close for a long time for this is out of character for them. We've got to be able to find facts and truth even if we're not getting it from that other person, but we need to learn how to reach for that and consider maybe they're having a bad day, maybe they haven't slept, maybe they have a migraine and we just don't know about it. And that's why that they just hung up on me. So I suggest in those cases, give that person a day and then reach out on the phone or in person and ask them, hey, can you help me? I love that because when you come at someone like that, I always have the, I am very visual and I use these in my sessions and when I do workshops like I have a sword and shield, like a plastic little kid sword and shield. But if you visualize if I say to you, hey, can you help me understand something? You know, my sword is down, My shield has been dropped. So I'm coming, you would like an open heart and open arms like what's going on? Are you okay?

You know, I noticed yesterday when we spoke you hung up on me or I noticed you were really short with me the other day, is everything okay because we make it so quickly about us and so often it's not about us, it's about, it's about that other person, They're human and I don't care how happy the human is. You're gonna have a bad day someday. You're gonna sit in grief. Sometimes you're gonna be angry, sometimes you're gonna be sad someday and it's okay and it has nothing to do with me for nothing. Well, I love it. I challenge and encourage my clients to get curious. Not critical, which is, it sounds get curious and I know it's changed my relationship with my husband and my Children, my adult Children and friends because I get curious and it is saying, can you help me understand or you said this? What did you mean? Because I heard this, you know, and get curious. Not critical. Yes, it's so helpful. It's so life changing. Get curious and same thing like what could be going on? Like if someone says something, so I p to me, I just think I wonder what's going on with them today instead of making it about me.

Like well that was really hurtful. Why would they do that? Right. Exactly. But you know, we get triggered my gosh, I've done enough podcasts on triggering. Like I hope people know how to work with triggers, but we're always we're always working right? And triggers. But if you're triggered you've got to sit in it. If it brings you anxiety, you've got to sit and again from our adult, we choose we're curious. Like you said, we choose our thoughts though. That's what I think too. People Are not aware that we are able out of the 70-90,000 thoughts a day. We have so many of them are robotic unconscious thoughts floating through our awareness and the ones that feel bad. So often times we cling to them. We actually get to choose do we want to believe that or this? And we want to make a conscious thought, reach for a conscious thought that feels better instead and ask, wait a minute. Yes, don't fall victim to your unconscious negative thinking and we do this.

We fall victim to our negative unconscious thoughts and think that's a real thought. And you get to choose your thoughts just knowing that and really becoming masterfully masterful with our thinking that's changed my life in such a big way. Absolutely me too. And when I learned that my thoughts generated my emotions that they how I felt was directly related to my thoughts. It was mind blowing and absolutely changed my life too. I'm like I can choose thoughts that made me feel good and not all the time. Sometimes there are times where it's okay to feel hurt and it's okay to feel disappointment and frustration and learning how to sit with those emotions without this is a whole nother episode tied into it, but you know, it's okay to feel hurt and pain, but so often we want to numb it, but we can choose our thoughts and with story, you know, today we're talking about story busting and really choose thoughts that serve us in busting these stories instead of strengthening it, right? You call them unconscious unconscious negative thoughts.

I call them ants automatic negative thoughts. Yes, automatic, automatic. That's why, you know, we're really many computers, right? Or big computers, I should say, which were pretty amazing, but we have so much negative thinking every day. Some people have more of it, some people have less, but it absolutely drives those stories and assumptions. It drives it. And we can turn those things around just with conscious awareness, slowing ourselves down and choosing the thoughts that feel best. And speaking with the people that you feel have hurt you really And getting yourself, people have told me for years when I say, let's bust that story. You know, people come into my office and say this and this and this and this is going on. I'm like, okay, wait a minute There. You know, and I think to myself, this is all a story, there's no evidence. And when I asked them, I want you to tell me and this is great for people to if you're listening this at home, get a piece of paper out in a pen and write down, what do I know?

That's 100% fact and truth in this scenario. And when I have done this with clients over all these years, they'll say, well they'll come in with this giant story and they might write down either one or two things or zero most of the time. It's like, I guess, I don't know if any of it's fact and truth, I'm like, well then let's figure out what we can do to figure out, you know, from our adult, we gather information, it's very empowering and we have the tough conversations and we go to speak to that person or we figure out what is true to make ourselves feel better. So yeah, great, great advice. Well, I love talking about this with you. I'm so glad that we're sitting here years later that we busted, busted and managed to hold on to this wonderful friendship. But I do think this is a powerful subject. I hope you listeners got something good at it today to bust those stories and assumptions that could be creating pain and suffering or damage to your relationships.

Absolutely, yeah, this was so fun. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being with me today. This was so fun. Um thanks claudia and thank you Michelle, thank thank you for being with me today. It was fun. So much fun. If you want to learn more about Michelle, you can visit the adult share dot com or listening to a podcast. The adult share where simple psychology meets grounded spirituality. Michelle's audience receives practical tools and techniques they can use to access their personal power and transform their lives

141 The Danger of Stories and Assumptions
141 The Danger of Stories and Assumptions
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