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How are you telling your story?

posted 24 Jul 2017, 19:06 by Suzi Wallis   [ updated 24 Jul 2017, 19:18 ]
The way you tell the story of your trauma/pain/past experiences/current difficult circumstances will have a huge impact on how empowered you feel. You could say "I suffer from [an illness]". How does that statement affect you? What about "I am a victim of [an experience]"? 

How do you feel when you say instead "I experience [an illness]" or "I have a relationship with [an illness]" - do you feel more or less empowered? The words you use have a powerful impact on your internal strength, and ability to handle future difficulties.

Imagine the story you would like to write about your experiences - if you are the victor in the end (you didn't get beaten as such, you learned some new things from your experiences), your resilience will increase. An example I sometimes give in sessions is:

Story 1
"I was riding a horse and it bucked me off. I broke my leg, and I'll have pain in that leg for as long as I live. I wish I'd never got on a horse that day."

Story 2
"I was riding a horse, and it must have got spooked. It bucked me off, and I got injured. I was a really good patient; I did my rehab just the way it was recommended, and I will always appreciate the care I got from the medical staff. I have been to visit the horse since, and made peace with it - fear can make us all do things we don't think about. I now appreciate and respect horses more than ever."

Which version above feels more empowering? Which would you prefer.

Our stories carry different feelings and energy with them - they affect both the orator and the audience. Have a think about how you want to feel about your current or past stories. If you are struggling to come up with an alternative to your current narrative, consider getting some therapeutic help. You could get a very different result in just one or two sessions.

It's important to tell your difficult stories in therapy or with trusted confidantes, so that you can hear what they sound like, and consider how they affect you. Telling the story over time will hopefully encourage stronger parts to be highlighted, and the tough parts to lose their power over your present.

Another technique is writing down or typing your story. You can tweak it and change it as you create it. Experiment with different ways of portraying difficult situations. Be creative. Include super heroes (in addition to your super hero status) and fantasy. Your mind is unlimited in its ability to help you to see the world differently. Go forth and create.

Suzi Wallis | Jul 2017