What's Your Story?

I’m always telling myself stories. When I sit in airport terminals I imagine all of the places people are going and who they’ll meet at their destination. I also do this with events in my life. I do it with positive stories and negative stories. If my husband is in a bad mood I might attribute it to something I did or I might just think he didn’t get enough sleep.  The stories aren’t a problem, unless, like me, you have an Unreliable Storyteller.

The Unreliable Storyteller consistently misinterprets events and provides partial, inaccurate or just plain false information. Because we all love stories we are easily taken in by storytellers. Inside of our head we have a voice that is constantly generating stories, it’s part of how we make sense out of our world. Many of us have great difficulty separating the false narrative from the facts. We continually alter our perception of actual events to maintain our shame storyline. If someone tells us we’ve made a mistake we immediately view all of life through that lens.


A great example of The Unreliable Storyteller can be seen on one of the procedural law T.V. shows, like Law & Order, when a lawyer examines a witness and twists the facts to suit their own narrative. The witness protests, “That’s not what I meant! That’s not what I said!”   

The trouble for us is that we don’t even protest, we just accept the false version we tell ourselves and carry on with our lives. Like the opposing counsel, cross-examining our thoughts, identifying false narratives as they arise, and refuting them is the key. Turning an inquisitive eye on own thinking will begin to diffuse its power.

Notice how the Unreliable Storyteller lurks at the fringes of your habitual thoughts whispering half-truths and unsubstantiated rumors. A great general approach to silence the Unreliable Storyteller is to ask yourself “Is that true?” and “What evidence do I have that it’s true?” Gradually we will can craft a new storyline and approach the Unreliable Storyteller with healthy skepticism.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a voracious reader and a storyteller. I think stories are great, just not when we’re telling ourselves stories that don’t serve us. I celebration of the storyteller I created a list of some of my favorite reads to share with you. Click here visit the list and set it up so you can even buy the books.

Happy reading!

Stephanie MillerComment