How to stay stuck

Last night, I went to a holiday party.

I found myself next to the hors d'oeuvres talking to a woman whom I’ve met a few times before. We settled into a conversation about pets (a popular topic among acquaintances).

It didn’t take me long to realize that I was conversing with a walking Story Trap.

Let me tell you what I mean…

For every positive, uplifting question or comment, she had an equally negative, defeating story.

It was clear that she loved dogs.

I asked her if she’d considered getting one of her own.

“I can’t have a dog because I wouldn’t be able to walk it.”

Puzzling because she was retired and also standing in front of me with no sign of physical ailment.

Seeing that I’d walked into her Story Trap, I tried a new subject.

I’d heard that her granddaughter had recently had twins, I asked if she had been out to visit them yet.

“I don’t travel anymore. I’m hoping they will come here sometime, but I doubt they will want to travel all this way with two little ones.”

Another dead end.

As a hail Mary, I asked her what she was reading.

“My eyes are not good enough to read anymore.”

I asked about audio books or podcasts.

“I don’t know how to set any of that up.”

Needless to say, I left the conversation feeling deflated.

She was so committed to her defeating stories that she had trapped herself in a sad, lifeless cage. She didn’t want creative solutions, she was too comfortable in her fear.

I heard a good quote a while back, “fight for your limitations and you get to keep them”.

I think the same can be said about stories.

Fight for your story (uplifting or defeating) and you get to keep it.