I find it ironic that as I sit here to write about telling your story, I’m drawing a blank. LOL. I’m a firm believer that writer’s block is also part of the creative process of telling our stories.
How many of us when told, “Tell Your Story,” thought to ourselves, “I have nothing to say,” or more importantly, “I have nothing interesting to say.”
It is at this point that I gently push back and say, your story is interesting!
In fact, your story is not only interesting, it is important, and your story is you.
Further, your story is how we connect.
For as long as people have wandered the Earth, they’ve been telling their stories – stories in the form of cave paintings, elaborate dances, and songs. Family histories and ancient wisdom have been passed down through our stories. Whole religious/spiritual movements have been formed from the foundation of our stories.
Stories are how we know who we are and how we connect.
Some of us watch stories on TV or at the movies. We read books. We tell our friends on social media what we had for dinner. These are part of our stories that connect us through the power of relating to each other.
Our stories are a gift to each other. When we share a part of ourself and listen to another, we give each other the gift of relating. When we relate, we discover parts of ourselves and others we did not know existed.
Part of the journey of healing from trauma and addiction has been telling my story. Not only telling my story, but having my story heard and owning my story.
In writing and telling my story, I’ve been able to face my fears of vulnerability and learn that as a child, I did the best I could. By exposing myself to my own story, I developed compassion and let go of a lot of self-blame.
By having my story heard, I faced the fear of being seen and rejected. By sharing my story with a safe person, and eventually at a group level, I experienced some release from my fears of being less than and not good enough. I was seen and heard and knew that I mattered.
By owning my story, I’ve been able to forgive myself and learn new attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that match my values instead of working against who I really want to be.
Yes, I have been very selfish and afraid. I have been very codependent and controlling. These qualities do not match who I want to be, and I could not begin to let them go until I owned them.
I didn’t own them with self-pity or self-judgement, but with as much self-love and humility as I could muster. Yes, I did the best I could, and at times, it was a real shitty job! Through owning my story, I have found freedom from the self-judgement.
Last night, I got to share part of my story of addiction and recovery with a group living at a halfway house. I shared things that I did over 20 years ago – things that today, I am so very grateful I do not do now.
My story of “what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now” is the greatest gift I can share with these new people in recovery. My hope is that they could relate to some of my story, and think to themselves that they want (and will pursue) recovery, too.
We’re still writing our stories! Another way I have been able to overcome the dark elements of my past is to rewrite the narrative. Instead of looking on my past life as something to be regretted (although certainly there are things I wish I had not done), today, I reframe my story as a Hero’s Journey. I am my own hero and have overcome a lot of adversity (most of it self-made), and am now living a spiritual life of purpose.
Everything had to happen as it did to make me who I am today. And today, I love who I am.
Tell your story to yourself! Write it out! Tell it to someone else! Realize that someone needs to hear your story because they can relate to it and they need to be able to relate.
Reframe your story as a Hero’s Journey. Be your own hero! You have overcome so many things to get to this point in life. What kind of story are you going to tell yourself today? Is life happening to you or for you? Be your own hero! Tell your story!