Owning Your Story
I have said often over the past months that it is important to own our words and own our actions. Some people may take that to mean saying “yeah, yeah I know I said that …but”. And it does not. Owning something means that you accept responsibility for what you said and did and the hurt you may have caused. Every action and every word we say or do comes with a consequence that is either good or bad and we have to decide if it is worth it.
There is another type of owning that is important to make our lives better and it is owning the story of our lives. This type of owning does not mean that we are to blame for all that happened in our lives but it is owning the fact that everything in our lives did actually happen to us. Human nature is to try to avoid anything unpleasant and anything negative and we can not heal if we can not face what has happened in our lives. If we are walking around always saying how great our life is, how wonderful our family is, how perfect everything is…chances are we are not owning our story because life is not perfect and there will always be things that hurt, upset, devastate and anger us. I think now “who are you trying to convince?…yourself or others?
image from http://pinterest.com/rebekahjm/q-u-o-t-e-s/
My guess is that every person that we come in contact with could tell us stories of sorrow and grief and hurt and devastation from their past. We all have those stories and those stories can either be faced totally until we get to the point that we may feel a sadness but not burst into tears or even anger, which is often substituted for hurt, every time the topic comes up. I have those stories and I sought the help of a therapist as it was more than I could deal with on top of all the physical pain and chronic illness I deal with. And while facing those dark places in my life was not easy, it was the best thing I ever did for myself. It was the best gift I could have given myself. I am not telling everyone to run to therapy for that is a personal choice. I am saying that until we face those dark spaces in our lives and are able to deal with them instead of shoving them to the back of our heads again where they will erupt over and over, then we will never have that peace we want in life. That is owning our story.
When we can look at all that we have been through and it does not devastate us every time the thought comes up, then we are healing. If we still start crying at things that happened twenty plus years ago or even a year ago, then we are not owning our story. Some times the story is “Boy, I was dumb to do that.” and sometimes the story is “I did not deserve that and they were wrong to do it to me”. And sometimes the story is “What a horrific thing happened to me that I did not deserve”. And when things happen to us that are truly not our fault, that is what we should see but we still have to “own” that it happened. We can not pretend them away. Believe me, I have tried. The things I have been through in my life, once I started owning my life story, have made me stronger and no longer still continue to take my life-like they did for years. When something still has a traumatizing effect on you one, five, ten, twenty years later, it is still taking part of your life from you every day.
I was the peacemaker child. I was the one that would never tell anyone if I was hurt. I was the clown who always joked and tried to make others laugh when I was devastated on the inside. I remember probably the first 8 plus therapy sessions I went to and I cried in every one of them because someone in authority and people I loved turned on me with a vengeance and were cruel and hurtful and I was devastated. It almost destroyed me. And I sought out the therapist and every time I went in, we talked about what happened and I would cry in anguish. And she would tell me “you are angry” and I would say “No, I am hurt. Can you not tell I am hurt?” And she would reply “Yes, I feel your hurt but you are also very angry”. I could not understand that because I was not owning my story at the time.
And then one day, I walked into a session, sat down and said “I am mad as hell.” and the therapist smiled and said “I have been waiting on this”. And I realized I was angry. I was angry at the injustice of what was done to me but I was also angry at myself that I did not leave, walk away from it and get away from it for I had that choice. And so, we talked many sessions on this. I had to own what was my responsibility and I had to accept that I may never have answers for why this cruel thing happened. I could not take on their ugly actions as my own. I could only own the story as it happened. Today, the story is one I can talk about without tears, without anger, without anguish because it has lost it’s power over me. But, if we never face what hurts, terrifies, anger, devastates us then we can never heal from it.
As far as accepting the consequences, this happened because I was honest and made an honest statement out of concern for someone and they got furiously angry and took revenge against me involving many people. The result of my being honest and concerned was the revenge the person took against me. Does it mean I am not honest or concerned about others anymore? No, it means that I know that sometimes ugly consequences can come from my being that way and I have to decide if I want to accept that result or not. And the answer is yes, I am still honest and caring because that is who I am. Learning that the ugliness had nothing to do with me personally but was more about the persons involved and their own problems made it possible for me to decide whether or not a person means enough to me to risk being that open and honest and maybe being treated that cruelly again. And if the person means enough to me, then I will take that risk. Are you owning your story?
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