I have mentioned before that if Brené Brown were a college course, I'd have been a double major. Chris and I are both huge fans and, to be honest, her work has changed our relationship for the better. We like to think of ourselves as BB Scholars :)
One of the tactics we learned from her book, Rising Strong, is the concept of "telling yourself a story." It's a move we employ to navigate conflict, which can be used in any relationship, not just romantic ones. I recently used it when I was feeling jealous of a friend and thought I'd share it with you! Here's how it works:
Imagine it's Wednesday night and I ask Chris if he wants to hang out with my friends on Friday. He replies "sounds good" without a ton of enthusiasm.
Throughout the next day, I find myself slightly annoyed of him, but don't know why. He's not doing anything to warrant this, what's my problem? I wonder. I think back to when I started feeling frustrated and realize it's when he didn't seem very enthusiastic about seeing my friends. Without realizing it, I had told myself a story that he didn't want to be with my friends. Did he even like them!?
At this point, I tell Chris that I'm telling myself a story about his feelings toward my friends. I'm afraid he doesn't think those relationships matter.
This gives him the opportunity to tell me:
- I'm sorry. I was doing work when you asked - that's why I was distracted. It isn't about your friends at all. I'd love to see them!
- Actually, we haven't seen my friends in weeks. When you asked if we could hang out with your friends again, I told myself a story that you don't want to spend time with my friends. I was afraid you were forgetting how important they were to me.
It gives us a safe avenue to acknowledge where we might be blowing things out of proportion in our minds, while also expressing vulnerability as we say: here's what I'm worried about, can you meet me there?
I highly recommend testing out the technique, as well as reading Rising Strong!