There is a message trending at the moment encouraging people to ‘drop’ their story or to remind themselves that ‘it’ is just a story.
What is ‘it’?
A moment in time? An incident? A relationship? A diagnoses? An act of abuse?
Or is ‘it’ our whole life? Is our life the story we should be dropping? If I was treated badly by my parents as a child should I stop telling people that because now ‘it’s just a story’ and I need to ‘drop it’?
To me that all feels quite disrespectful and a waste of an experience.
I get what the intention behind the movement is. I understand that there is a desire to help people to not feel stuck. To be able to move on from a moment in time or from a way that you may be viewing yourself based on the past. However I think any benefit may be getting lost with a bit of an all or nothing approach.
So I work with clients all the time who are so shocked that things that happened many years ago, possibly many decades ago can still bring them to floods of tears. They usually say to me ‘isn’t it silly that after all this time I can still get so upset about that.’ Now they aren’t talking about getting a parking fine or getting a stain on their favourite jumper. These people are talking about loss, death, deep disappointments and deep down in your bone marrow sorrow.
So why are they still so emotional about these experiences? Why are they still so stuck?
Is it because they haven’t yet learnt that it’s just a story?
It’s because they have never given it the honour and respect that it deserves. They have never felt the full magnitude of the sadness, the grief, the disappointment.
That’s why they now have physical issues, unhealthy relationship patterns, and toxic work environments... whatever has brought them to my door. This other unresolved matter, the thing they ‘should be over by now’ is not only still there but often the cause of the issues that are currently presenting. Why is it now showing up in other ways? Because the world we live in is a benevolent place and will keep bringing opportunities to feel it, and honour it, and then to transform it.
That’s what we are meant to do with our stories! They are our material to transform. They are the way that we show others and model for others what true strength and courage are. What true healing looks like. What real humans experience while they are on this planet. The blood, sweat and tears that go into a life (a story) on this planet. Every one of our stories is useful, vital not just for us but for everyone around us.
So how do you not get stuck in your story? How do you enable the story and yourself to evolve?
It’s all in how you tell it.
So when you are first in it, when it’s only just happening, unfolding, hitting you across the chops like a tornado you will most likely tell it from the point of view of a victim. Someone, something, life, the universe, maybe even God has wronged you. Someone is to blame. There must be a victim, there must be a perpetrator.
Allow this. Feel the disappointment. Feel the sadness, the anger, the confusion. Share it with people you trust. Get help if you need it. Honour what has happened. Honour the magnitude of it as you can. Sometimes you need to be hours, days, maybe even years removed from the experience to feel the next layer of whatever comes up. But this is the work! This is the very thing that turns what appeared to be something that was ‘against’ you to be something that you transform into something ‘for’ you. This is how you take the shit and you find the gold underneath. And as you find more and more gold you start telling the story differently.
And a story that was once the tale of a victim becomes the tale of a hero. And a story that was once hard to tell and hard to hear becomes a tale of inspiration and an example of courage and strength and benefits anyone who hears it or sees the process of the transformation.
Remember a hero is not a hero from the start of the story. A hero is the one who goes through the hardship, usually faces great obstacles, challenges, losses and adversity and then rises above them, not without any battle scars but stronger because of them, and changes for ever due to the story. And we always cheer the loudest for those who have come the farthest because we see ourselves in them and we want them to succeed, because if they can, we all can.
So embrace your story, honour your story and let it grow and transform just as you do and allow it to inspire others to do the very same with whatever material has landed on their door today and is beckoning them to turn into gold.