There is a book cafe in my village once a month. It is a chance to buy second hand books for just 50p so I have bought many fiction and non-fiction books that I would never have tried. They also sell great home-made cakes but that’s another story!
Last month I bought ‘Kind of Cruel’ by Sophie Hanna. I knew nothing about it and had never read one of her books. I was amazed when I started reading it today about how much I related to the book. In the first chapter she says:
“True memories are frail, fragmentary apparitions, easily bulldozed into submission by a robust narrative that has been carefully engineered to stick in the mind. Almost as soon as we’ve had an experience, we decide what we would like it to mean, and we construct a story around it to make it possible. The story incorporates whichever relevant memories suit its purpose and discards the ones that are no use.”
That’s an elegant way of saying that its not what happens to us that is important, its the sense we make of it. Lets take the example of two drivers who nearly have an accident. The first driver congratulates himself on using his knowledge, experience and skill to avoid the accident. He drives away with no ill-effects. The second drivers worries about what might have happened if the accident had occurred. He goes over and over it in his mind thinking he was just lucky that it didn’t happen and his luck might run out soon. He drives home but the next day he can’t get back in the car.
The difference between the two drivers is in the story that they told themselves. This is the way that phobias can start and they can often generalise from something small or something that didn’t quite happen and start to move into other areas of you life.
The good news for the second driver is that after 20 years of not driving, he came to see me. After a few sessions of hypnotherapy and NLP he is now confidently back on the road. A story with a happy ending!