The Happiness Connection  

Telling your story honestly

I don’t like milk.

I have an ancient memory from when I was tiny. In it, my sister tells me not to like milk because it is good for me. In those days, I always did what my sister said.

She denies ever saying such a thing, and she might be right. Whether the memory is accurate or not, the fact remains. I have spent most of my life, disliking milk.

This would be a very short column if it weren’t for a recent discovery. I don’t hate milk as much as I thought I did.

Although Starbucks is the coffee shop of choice for many of my friends, I’ve struggled to find a hot drink there that I like. I tend to consume black coffee, but I don’t like theirs very much. Not drinking milk really limits my choices.

I went to visit a friend one day a few months ago and offered to bring her a drink. She sent me a complicated order for coffee that involved milk.

I don’t know what possessed me, but I decided to order the same for myself. To my surprise, I enjoyed the milky concoction.

A few weeks later, I found myself in a Starbucks in Arizona. When my friend ordered a chai latte, I found myself asking for the same. It was delicious.

Not liking milk was a story I had told myself for so long, that I believed it would always be true. I’m not sure if it was ever true, or if my tastes have simply changed.

It doesn’t really matter.

I had taken one thing and generalized it to include a multitude of things. I still wouldn’t choose to drink a glass of milk, but that doesn’t mean it will pollute my coffee or tea.

Not liking milk is just one story that I told myself about who I am. There are more.

  • I have no ability to play sports.
  • When I go to large networking events, I have nothing to say.
  • If I let people see the real me, they won’t like me.

I haven’t got any natural talent for sports, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn. My father-in-law proved this to me a quarter of a century ago when he taught me to play tennis.

I’ll never make it to Wimbledon, but I could play well enough to have fun at a club level.

Despite this experience, I still tell people that I can’t play sports.

I’m uncomfortable at large networking events, but it is more about an old, irrational fear of not being liked. I tell myself that I have nothing to say, but anyone who knows me will recognize the inaccuracy of that statement.

What would my experience be like if I told myself that it doesn’t matter what people think of me? Not everyone has to like me, but there are people there who will.

What stories do you tell yourself?

If they are positive ones that help you live a full life, then continue to tell them. If they are limiting you, take time to revisit your beliefs.

I’m examining my beliefs about food. Perhaps I’m missing out on some delicious options simply because I’m not used to them. I’m even working up the courage to try drinking a glass of frosty milk.

Imagine all the things you are missing out on, because of the stories you’ve been telling yourself. Maybe now is the time to rewrite some of them.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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