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Confabulation

January 30, 2019

 

 

Isn't that a great word?

 

I learned it from Brene Brown. 

 

Her definition of confabulation is "a lie told honestly."

 

In other words, 

 

It's the story we tell ourselves about the world around us. 

 

And many times that story is full of interpretations and lies.

 

Not intentional lies. We think we are telling the truth. 

 

What stories are you telling yourself about your life and your experiences that are confabulated?

 

"My child is difficult to handle."

 

"My husband cares more about his patients than he does about our family. They always come first."

 

"I don't have any close friends at church. No one invites me to anything."

 

"My sister-in-law is impossible to deal with."

 

"I never get any time to myself."

 

"My neighbor is a jerk."

 

"We are drowning in student loan debt."

 

All of these examples are thoughts

 

Is there a different way to think about your situations?

 

Are the stories you tell yourself about your life helping you or hurting you?

 

Sometimes it feels so good in the moment to engage in confabulation--

 

To speculate.

 

Make assumptions.

 

And even convince ourselves that what we interpreted was actually the truth--

 

and not just our version of the truth.

 

But confabulation is painful in the end.

 

And totally unnecessary.


So how do we avoid it?

 

Well, first we need to recognize that we are engaging in it in the first place.

 

Then, we need to separate the facts of the situation from our feelings about the situation.

 

Let's take one of the examples from above---

 

Your husband said he would be home from work at 7, but it's 8pm before he walks through the door: 

 

You might be tempted to confabulate (without even knowing it) and think (or say aloud):

 

'He cares more about his patients than he does about our family. They always come first.'

 

Is that really true?

 

I mean, he doesn't live with his patients.

 

He doesn't go home to them after a long day at work.

 

He doesn't work to provide for THEIR family. 

 

What if the fact that he worked at all were proof that you and your family come first to him?

 

Did you know you can choose to believe that if you want? 

 

You really don't have to add your own ideas and beliefs to the story unless they are helpful ones. 

 

Next time you find yourself filling in the gaps of a story with your own interpretations, 

 

ask yourself, 'am I confabulating just a little bit here?'

 

And then separate the facts of the situation from your feelings about it. 

 

Because changing the circumstance isn't usually possible,

 

but changing the way you think and ultimately feel about it is ALWAYS possible.

 

For a great video on the stories we create featuring Brene Brown, watch here

 

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