Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Stacy Averette

“If we build faulty narratives on questionable assumptions they’ll undermine our results.” -Michael Hyatt

In other words:
You’re telling yourself a story about a person or circumstance
and you’re convinced, based on what you think you know or what someone has told you, that “your story” is a fact.

We all do this. Our nature is to make sense of the world around us and feel safe physically and emotionally. But often, “the story we choose to tell ourselves” isn’t facts—it’s just a story that undermines our results and the outcome we desire. It’s self-sabotage that affects every area of our life.

Let me share an example of a common faulty narrative so you can get a better idea of what I mean.

life coach;

True Story

“My husband says he loves me but he never plans a date night or a couples getaway.”

Faulty Narrative:

The story I tell myself about him is:

>he’s not romantic
>he doesn’t care about spending time together and nurturing our marriage
>he must not  love me
>I’d be happier if he did this once in a while.
>good, loving husbands plan romantic date nights (How hard can it be, right?)

All those things FEEL TRUE. But likely they’re questionable assumptions. I construct a story to self-protect and end up undermining the very results I want in my marriage. My “story” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. My faulty narrative, which I repeat to myself and rehearse often to anyone that will listen, results in me feeling unloved and acting needy, helpless, grumpy, etc. Furthermore, I’m hinging my happiness on something I can’t control (another person) and giving my power, my ability to be happy, away to someone else.


One surefire way to know if you need to question your narratives is if you experience a barrage of negative emotions “out of the blue”. We often refer to it as “being in a funk”. But dear friend, it isn’t out of the blue. Your feelings, the good ones, and the bad ones are cooked up by YOU—-by the very thoughts you are thinking about a person or set of circumstances! And that’s great news because it means YOU have the power to change how you feel by changing what you think! The other person or your circumstances don’t have to change for you to feel better. So . . .

When you find yourself feeling unloved and acting needy, helpless, and grumpy toward an otherwise loving, good-willed spouse (see disclaimer below), I encourage you to hit “Pause” on the story and question your assumptions. Could there be another side to your story that you’re not willing or able to see?

Here’s the thing about our brains: We will always find “facts” to support our assumptions! If you’re looking for ways he doesn’t love you YOU WILL FIND LOTS OF WAYS to support your narrative. But I promise you, if you are willing to question your assumptions and look for ways that he does show love, YOU WILL FIND THOSE ALSO.

Change The Story

Repeat and Rehearse these thoughts:

>I know he loves me
>He shows me in other ways that I choose to focus on. (make an actual list of these!)
>I will gladly plan ways that we both enjoy for us to spend time together
> I focus on what I can do to nurture our relationship.

This is a better story (thoughts, narrative) I choose to tell myself and it creates a feeling of love. When I look for the ways he shows his love I see more of the ways he loves me. (You will always find what you’re looking for.) And I take back my power to make myself feel loved and happy in a way I can control.

Now here’s the thing:

Maybe our assumptions aren’t questionable. Maybe my husband isn’t romantic (by my definition) and doesn’t care as much as me about spending time together. Even if this is true, the faulty narrative (story) I’m repeating to myself isn’t serving him or me. And it’s making a bad situation worse. It’s making me feel worse. It’s ME hurting MY OWN feelings!

You see, we think it’s the people and circumstances in our lives that are the problem. And you can continue to believe that if you want to but if you do you’re giving away ALL your power. In essence, you’re saying, “I’ll never be happy unless someone acts a certain way or circumstances happen the way I want them to.”

Friend, if we hinge our happiness on circumstance and other people, there’s a pretty good chance that you and I will rarely be happy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my dearest relationships to die on the hill of unrealistic, self-sabotaging expectations!

We are not helpless victims. We have the God-given ability to think, renew our minds, question our assumptions, and choose a better story that blesses us and the people we love. We can decide to create our own happiness!

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances.
Philippians 4:11

The word “content” in the verse above means: properly self-sufficient, content in the sense of being satisfied because I’m living in God’s content (fullness). This inward sufficiency is as valid in “low times” as in “high times”. And according to Paul, contentment is due largely in part to what we think about!


The Rest of the Story

In case you’re wondering if the husband in the example is mine? Well, it used to be. The man I married was romantic and thoughtful and sweet. Many years into our marriage I woke up pouty and angry and feeling sorry for myself that he didn’t plan date nights. (I’m sure I was comparing our marriage to something I read or saw on TV. ) I nagged and complained and told myself a sad story.

I finally woke up and challenged myself, my story, and my assumptions. I made a decision to be happy, to plan date nights myself, and to love all the ways he loved me (minus the date nights). Everything changed when I decided to tell a better story about us. The happiness I felt from my choices changed how I acted toward him and created a space where he felt safe to talk about why he never planned date nights.

Here are a few of the things he said:

>”I don’t feel like I’m a good planner. You seem to plan stuff better than me.”
>”I was worried about spending money. I know money is tight and I didn’t want to stress you out by spending more.”
>”You always seem tired and I didn’t think you’d want to get dressed up and go somewhere.”

(Obviously, he had a story in his head too but I didn’t know that. And my job was to focus on myself, my thoughts, and my behavior!)

Communication is key in any relationship but good, healthy communication rarely happens when we’re coming at each other angry and bitter.

Create your own happiness. Decide to make your home, your relationships, and your work a life-giving place as much as is possible with you, and let go of who and what you can’t control!

“Life coach” is one of the many hats I wear in this season. Women come to me when they aren’t getting the results they want in their life. I ask a lot of questions and ever-so-gently challenge their assumptions. I help them uncover the story they’re telling themselves so they can decide if/how the story is serving them and then I help them construct a better story.

It’s so fun to see someone have an “aha” moment and confront their own stories and assumptions.

So I’m wondering: Do you have any faulty narratives with questionable assumptions? (Hint: YOU DO!)

Here are a few I’ve heard:

>”I’m just not good with money.”
>”I’m so undisciplined.”
>”I never follow through and finish what I start.”
>”I’m too old to _______________________.”
>”I’m too young to _________________________.”
>”I don’t have enough time/money/energy to __________.”

Anything you want to add? Feel free to leave a comment or click here to send me an email. Your email questions and comments always brighten my day!

Disclaimer: This post isn’t addressing an abusive relationship. We should never tolerate or be content with those situations. If you are in an abusive relationship I encourage you to seek help.

2 thoughts on “Are You Lying to Yourself?”

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