Last week I had a funny interaction with a friend.
Not funny as in ha ha (I love me some those) but funny as in odd.
It wasn’t too tremendously off, but awkward enough it gave me pause.
I invited my friend to do something in October and she declined saying she was busy that month.
I went on with my day and didn’t give our chat a second thought.
I was disappointed she couldn’t join me for the event. I knew there would be other times.
The next morning I learned the date of the activity had been moved to November.
I’ll call my friend, I thought. I bet she can come now! This is great!
I called. I shared the plans were now for November. I asked, more kidding than not, if she was still busy.
She said yes, her plate was full.
As silly as it seems in hindsight (and after telling my brain a new tale) I felt quite sad.
I didn’t feel down because my friend was busy (life happens).
(SadCarla. It’s immediately apparent this is NOT my natural state…)
I felt sadness and surprise as it became clear during our exchange I’d overestimated our friendship.
I’d assumed I was a make-time-for friend when, in actuality, I was not.
I sat with my emotions the rest of the day.
I questioned how many other women whom I considered Friend with a capital F might view me simply as friend.
I told my brain the wrong story.
In an effort to not distract myself from my feelings I began to tell myself the wrong tale.
I told my brain the wrong story and started to feel myself make it my own.
Until a few days later.
The Austin rains stopped, the Doodle and I headed out for a walk, and life conspired to refute the tale I’d told myself.
In the course of our amble I met 3 women who were all friendly, initiated conversation, and clearly interested in creating friendships.
When he and I returned home I felt better than I had since the “conversation” days prior.
People like me, I thought. People are attracted to my energy and want to get to know me.
Your brain believes the story you tell it.
I told myself this new narrative as I went through my day and, not surprisingly, I witnessed evidence re-enforcing my story everywhere.
I couldn’t not see it!
I met even more new women at a spontaneous gathering which reminded me I was someone people enjoyed spending time with.
This experience, as painful as it was to endure, turned out to be a gift.
It made me aware life is merely information and I have the power to interpret and process the way I choose.
Instead of shutting down or cutting myself off I chose to make myself vulnerable with friends new and old.
Did I make myself wholly vulnerable and tell my friend she’d hurt my feelings?
I did not.
As difficult as it was to hear I took in the information she provided, redefined our relationship, and moved forward.
In the end I’m immeasurably grateful for the lesson she unknowingly taught me:
Your brain believes the tale you tell it—be wary the stories you choose to share.