One of the causes of discontent comes from listening to and telling bad stories. We get this steady dialogue going in our heads that is nothing but nonsense, and unfortunately, we sometimes believe it. It could be a long song-and-dance about how hard our job is, how we are overworked and under-appreciated, or how lazy everyone else is. It could be a sob story about how we have no friends or what a miserable childhood we had. The plot lines are endless, but they all have a monotonous dreariness that would never make the best seller list if they were actually put into print. When we listen to this idle chatter all day long, day after day, little wonder that it warps our perspective and hardens our hearts.
Anxiety comes from telling ourselves scary stories. What if I never get married? What if I get married to the wrong guy and then we are miserable? What if my car skids across the road into the other lane? What if I get fired? What if the house burns down? What if I get struck by lightning?
Pride is fed by telling bad stories where we are always the winners and others always lose. Pride is the prettiest, the smartest, the richest, the most enviable, everyone’s favorite. In fact, bad stories can feed all kinds of bad behavior, and bad stories are necessary to justify bad behavior. When you have to explain to yourself over and over why you were really right, chances are very good that you were really wrong.
The trick is to learn to be a good interrupter. Break in to the bad stories and shut them off. Start telling good stories, believable stories, wise stories. Love is kind and does not parade itself, not even in stories. It isn’t puffed up, and it doesn’t think evil of others. It hopes for the best and is not envious. Love is a good story teller.