Stories speak the multi-cultural, multi-lingual language of planet-dwelling humans. Earth dwellers feverously tune into tales of atmospheric conditions; of epic political sagas; of torrential upheavals; of devastating turns of events and of the freakish, while somehow entertaining, foibles and escapades of our own, human-kind. We live, learn, breathe, slop, slog, thrive and strive in story. Then, by our cosmically engineered, inherent design; we repeatedly tell them. The more we tell, the better they become.
The stories, the stories of our lives, and their fated or ill-fated destinations are real. Story is real. It doesn’t matter if it fiction, nonfiction, noodlehead, legendary or mythological. A story and the story of the story is real. Our words and our intentions become story’s living reality. A story, at its core, is us and about us. In story, as in life, we get to choose. We get to choose, to keep, to deliberate, to hide, to stuff, to revisit, to camouflage, to evacuate, to refurbish, to refresh, to retell or to let go. Stories, the meaning we attach to the events of our lives, as we attempt to process or to make sense out of what happened:
OK it did happen . . . I don’t know how I can keep going . . . It’s not fair . . . I didn’t do anything . . . What right do they have . . . How can people be so happy, don’t they get it? The list goes on.
The responses and the feelings we put behind these stories add life and vitality to the living realism of their humorous, adventurous, off the cliff, disastrous or otherwise impeded or unimpeded journey. They can make it feel as if what happened in the past is still happening in the present. They can make it feel as if we are stuck or held prisoner in the events and repeating images of what already has happened. Moving out of the story may mean stopping the story. It may mean recrafting the story. It may mean taking a minute to ask ourselves; Is this happening right now?”
My guess is the answer is no. At this moment the story, our story, has changed. We are no longer a victim but the decision maker making an impact on the story of our experiences.
It’s our lives. We get to choose the story of our experiences. We get to choose and how often this story is told. We get to choose when and where the story is told. We also get to choose when to change it or when to let it go.
One way to refurbish and retell an old story, especially a painful one, is to briefly revisit the experience. If the story still feels overwhelming, just ask yourself; Right now, in this moment, am I safe? In revisiting the experience of the story, look for and identify things which went well, things which went better than expected, things which prevented a bad situation from getting worse or things which you or someone else never imaged or expected again could do.
Remaining calm in the moment.
Supporting the people around us with certainty and clarity when we ourselves were facing indescribable amounts of fear and uncertainty.
Acknowledging our strengths and our courageous actions.
Identifying something we never imaged we could do but we did it anyway such as:
Going back to work the next day.
Reaching out for help.
Standing up in court.
Making a decision that lessened the impact of what was happening or did happen.
So let’s take a moment and give ourselves credit for being the remarkably exceptional and incredibly wonderful individuals we truly are. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge our courageousness, our strengths and our resourcefulness. Herein, lies another amazing story to tell.