March 20, 2017 Carole Levy

The enemy du jour

How to resist a juicy story in which we are the virtuous hero and the other one is the bad dud, even if it means coming across as inconsistent?

In truth, it is difficult to question our stories when they make us feel self-righteous AND connected. Too irresistible to stick with our narrative! It just happened to me a few days ago…

Of course, I’m not talking about the foundational stories that have shaped our life. I’m talking about the stories, in which I know – and I know you know- that they contain a little bit of BS, excuse my French.

We are not bad people – I’m not a bad person – so, why do we do that?

Here is a list of possible explanations for the Enemy du Jour syndrome:

  • Old tribal instinct to perpetuate internal alliance against anybody outside of our circle.
  • Deep need for connection that outweighs logic and reason.
  • Fundamental aversion to feeling our own discomfort, so that we absolutely have to project it onto the first person that crosses our path.
  • Knee-jerk reaction to hurt others when we feel hurt, packaged into storytelling.

There are maybe more academic explanations. Please, keep me posted.

Also, there is a lot to explore about our “betrayal stories”, but let’s say for now that they are the most difficult to question while they need to be the most readily questioned.

For now, let’s just make sure that we are fully invested in our foundational stories, AND that we have distance from our BS ones!

Reflective questions: Do you recognize when you have good stories that makes you feel better than somebody else? Do you seek allies to share your stories? Do you notice when you switch allies?


Comments (3)

  1. Bill

    This is a great post Carole. Sometimes I will pass judgment on people I have never met based on stories from other people. Then when I meet them for the first time, they have a huge hurdle to overcome for me to accept them. I feel foolish when they are good people or there is another side of the story that I did not consider. I do this a lot less now but I have done it.

    You could probably add to the list of reasons, we have a fundamental desire to be right all the time.

    When I read your post, all I could picture was the “at the mercy” diagram with all the arrows pointing in. It is about me, what can I take from the situation, why does this happen to me…etc. As opposed to the “at the source” diagram, it is about us, what can I contribute meaningfully to the situation, what can I learn from this…etc.

  2. This is a wonderful and important post for our times. Very thought provoking while remaining humorous as well. That’s your gift, Carole. Thanks for another good think-laugh! Keep them coming. They offers us an amusing education.

Comments are closed.


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