Beware 'Story Lock'

Many times we get caught up in stories and we keep repeating them, even though they no longer apply to the current reality. We ignore facts along the way that provide opposing evidence because it just seems easier and more comfortable to keep repeating a story or narrative that we have made part of ourselves.

This happens in many areas of our life, including our relationships, our families, our work, and in politics. So often in relationships we come up with a story that we just can't let go of, no matter how much the recent evidence contradicts it. We are locked into a story that for our own internal psyche is just hard to break. We are convinced of its truth, and there is no way we are going to let that conviction shake us no matter the quantity of new information. The interesting thing is, we can do this "story lock" both consciously and subconsciously.

And in relationships (and politics), this can happen both on the overly positive view or overly negative. We may have been convinced that we could trust our loved one and he or she would never be hurtful and would be faithful, and this becomes a very important part of how we see ourselves in the world. And we ignore instance after instance of behavior to the contrary, because it would just be too hard to face the myth of our story. So we keep telling ourselves and others the old story that just isn't true.

It can also happen where we believe someone has hurt us and we can't count on them, even though that person has showed us something totally different of late. We get so locked into that negative story, it is difficult to accept change or a new set of circumstances and look at another differently.

One of the best things we can do in life, both personally and professionally, is at regular moments to drop the etched stone tablets of our stories to the floor, allow them to break into pieces, and look at things with a fresh eye. Let go of those narratives we have become convinced of, and see what emerges as we look at things completely from an open and welcoming perspective. This can be incredibly difficult because those "solid" stories have become what we believe is an integral part of our being: How will people see me if I allow a different story in? If I start telling a complete different story, then people will think worse of me or wonder about the truth of what I was saying before?

Let the story be what it is, and let the truth of the moment matter more than the story which no longer fits. Just because we said something 20 years ago, or even 20 days ago, does not mean it is true for today. Allow today's truth to wipe away the myth of a story that no longer is relevant or even true. Introduce yourself to others anew, and thus to your own self again for the first time.

And so we get to politics. It has become nearly a universal talking point by many of us in the pundit business to say that Newt Gingrich is finished in his race for the Republican nomination. We all say he has taken tons of hits (both incoming and self-inflicted), has dropped dramatically in the polls, and has fallen to the wayside just like the other Republicans who rose quickly against Mitt Romney and then dropped off.

But let's look at the facts. Although Gingrich's support has fallen off a bit nationally from his high, three recent polls have come out showing the race dead even. In ABC, CBS, and CNN polling, the race is way too close to call. Further, in Gallup's daily tracking on the race for the Republican nomination, Gingrich's lead evaporated quickly, but in the latest track, he is now back ahead of Romney.

For every other Republican that rose and fell in this race (Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain) once their drop started, they never recovered and ended up in single digits. This isn't true for Gingrich, and his staying power (and recovery strength) seems much different. While we need to see what is going on in Iowa and Gingrich could be in big trouble there, his national standing is still as strong or stronger than Romney's. Gingrich could quote Mark Twain concerning the false news of his demise: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

So let's all pause for a moment, take a look at things with a new set of eyes and a new heart, and see if we can allow what is currently true to write our story and not the faded engravings of a narrative that just isn't real any more. It may cause us to have to make a big change in our perspective or our lives, but in the end it is better to be loyal to the evolving truth than to the myth of consistency.

Cross-posted from National Journal.