What is the story you tell yourself?
Have you ever taken a step back from a troublesome situation to look at it differently and then after doing so felt a whole lot better about what just occurred? For example, let’s say you’ve had a difficult day at work and as you exit your building to get in your car you’re feeling edgy, your kind of hungry, and you’re in a rush to get home. As you pull out of the parking lot someone cuts you off and you nearly crash into a parked car. You slam the steering wheel, you curse out loud, and you think; “the world is full of idiots who don’t pay attention!!!” Your story here is that you were the victim of someone else’s lack of attention and it further proved another part of your story you tell yourself that the world will always let you down. And if you’re unwilling to challenge your story, well you’re likely to drive home angry, probably honk at someone along the way, and maybe even pick a fight with someone once you get home.
But…okay here comes a football analogy, let’s just say someone threw the red challenge flag and the referee goes under the hood to look at what really happened. It turns out, that in your agitated and hungry state you flipped your turn signal the wrong way, so while you planned to turn left your blinker was flashing right. And the person driving that other car? Well that poor mother had just received a call that her son had been hit by a car and she was racing to the hospital to attend to her son who was facing life-threatening circumstances. “Upon further review….are you willing to challenge your story now?”
Men with depression often tell themselves stories that, while steadfast and true in their heart and mind, often bear little resemblance to what is really taking place. And many of the men I have worked with here at Face It during these depressive bouts are not very open to hearing a different interpretation of the story they’re telling themselves. In fact, they will go to great lengths to argue their version of events to maintain their story about being “right” or being a victim or to prove to you just how horrible the world is. These men often stay stuck in their depression and in many instances, cause themselves more difficulties as they cling to their negative stories/perceptions.
In contrast, the men who are open to hearing a different version of their story are the ones who seem to find their way out of their depression quicker. These men, despite how hard it is to accept that just maybe we don’t know everything we’d like to think we do, are willing to listen to what others have to say and to consider a new viewpoint. These men realize that there are many ways to look at situations and they let down their guard and agree to be vulnerable to others in conversation about how they see the situation. These men learn and embrace that it is both okay and very healthy to learn to see their story in a new light.
So, ask yourself…what is my story? Is your story one of pain, pessimism, and victim hood? If so…maybe you need to open yourself up to a red flag challenge and referee review!