I recently watched the Netflix Original Documentary Making a Murder and found myself frustrated and angry. While watching, I’d begin talking to the television, leaving my kids thinking I’d gone crazy. The height of their wonderings came to a peak when I threw the channel changer across the room while yelling, “What is wrong with them! Can’t anyone see it’s a set-up?!
We connect the dots
We often make up stories with limited information. I often find myself completing sentences of others in my own head before they finish. And often, I find out I’m wrong. Sometimes I make up the ending of a story just as it begins, and my actions usually reflect that made up ending in my head!
One example can be seen in my early years of marriage. Darci and I were struggling financially, and I was focusing on lowering the bills. I began to ask her to turn off the lights as she left rooms, and only turn on the lights while she was using them. She looked at me in amazement and proclaimed, “Do you realize how minuscule a light is on our electricity bill?” I would usually reply with the Benjamin Franklin quote, “Small leaks sink great ships.” She’d eventually reluctantly agree to say, “I’ll try.”
Day after day, I would come home with every light in the house on. I’d ask her again, each time slightly louder, but it seemed to never happen. The story came to conclusion inside my head. It consisted of “She doesn’t care what I think” or “She can’t hear what I’m asking of her” or even “She’s doing this on purpose to shove it in my face!” With each story, my anger grew; so much so that I eventually decided I would once and for all let her know how important it is to me – by punching a hole in the bathroom wall! Darci stood there frightened. She didn’t know what to do. Would I hit her next time? Would I destroy our home? She didn’t know and she was afraid.
Information leads to reasons
If I’d asked myself a question this might have been avoided. “Does she love me?” And I knew the answer was yes. Then there’s got to be a reason for it, right?
My rage subsided and I asked her, “Don’t you care about me…about what I say or need? I feel like my requests go in one ear and out the other.” I was sad, and in turn the stories I made up made me angry. She answered, “Yes I care about you and your needs. I just keep forgetting. I’m not doing it on purpose.” We made up and I apologized, but the hole in the wall was still there for me to fix – one of many casualties I’ve created by jumping to conclusions.
Later, after finding out Darci’s personality, it’s pretty normal for her to forget things like that – to be ultra-focused on the task at hand and sometimes forget the rules. She did love and care about me – she just sometimes forgot. My personality focuses on what is not being done more than what is being done. Hmmm…Since finding this out, I tend to pause before jumping to conclusions so quickly.
Patience and questions cure stories and thoughts
Back to the Steven Avery case, I quickly posted on my Facebook page my frustrations with the authorities in Making a Murderer. I won’t give away the documentary but since then I began to investigate and ask questions. I found all sorts of evidence and testimony that the documentary left out – just like the story in my head about the lights! Evidence and testimony I never saw that, if I had seen, would have given me answers and perhaps changed my opinions of the case. Netflix seems to have left that out to create the uproar you’ve probably been hearing about in this decade old case. I can’t say if he is guilty of murder or not, but I can say that I was absolutely sure he was innocent before hearing the other side of the story.
Ask for the information
When you find yourself offended, angry, sad, lonely or in fear, ask questions. Chances are you are just making up a story and jumping to a conclusion that isn’t even there. Confronting the situation with calm questioning and stating how you feel can give you the answers and reasons you need to make a better decision. The act of asking questions alone and realizing that your vision could be blurred can sometimes cause a pause and calm the situation enough for you to see a different perspective. Before condemning, choose to see their side of the story, and you just might not create a hole in the wall you’ll have to fix later!
The Journey Training can help with things like making up stories that you may not be aware of. Perhaps you are operating in ways that continually frustrate you; that if you could see a different perspective and make a different choice, would allow you to create the life you truly want. Sign up for the very next Threshold class to learn dozens of tools like this that you can immediately implement in your life, creating the life you truly want and not the one that creates a frustrated you!