We continue with our Guest Thriver, Megan, who will take us through a helpful process in her healing. Thank you again, Megan, for your encouragement and wisdom.
“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.” Brene Brown
My last post was about feeling called to share my story and the freedom I found in doing so. I want to encourage you to take some healing steps, even partially, to begin to claim yours. The following process has worked for me:
1. Inviting God into the Process
2. Owning and Sharing Your Story
Inviting God into the Process:
For me, inviting God (however you define the Divine Presence) into the process of change is crucial. I believe strongly in God’s healing grace. Inviting God may be as simple as praying for awareness. Ask God to bring to mind whatever story is not serving you well. Whatever the invitation, it does not have to be a grand gesture. God meets us where we are in our lives.
Owning and Sharing Your Story:
Owning and sharing your story is the heart of the process once you’ve identified the story that you have playing on “repeat” in your mind: write.it.down! Write down every detail of the storyline. It could be an event or a feeling or just negative thoughts. Write out every aspect of the story you keep telling yourself. This exercise will help you own your story.
As a side note, what I have found to be at the root of my negative storylines is shame. Oh shame, it is a big, somewhat complicated subject that inevitably leads to self-doubt and negative self-talk. Brene Brown, one of my all-time favorite authors and speaker, has delved deep into this subject. It is essential to identify the shame in your recurring storylines. Brene Brown defines shame as “The intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”
Next comes the hard part…share your story. Share your story with someone you trust and love. It could be with a spouse, partner, best friend, sibling, etc. Some stories might require sharing with a therapist, and there is NO shame in doing that! In my experience, healing begins at this very place. When we let ourselves be vulnerable and share our most private thoughts, it is truly freeing.
As with shame, forgiveness is a big subject to tackle. However, I see forgiveness as the step that pulls the process together. I recently read a book that shared a forgiveness exercise written by Edwene Gaines. I modified the steps, and it goes as follows:
Write down the following statements and fill in the blanks:
• I am over feeling shame about______________
• I am no longer feeling sorry for myself about________________
• I am no longer going to blame _________for________________
• Next, complete the statement: I forgive_______totally and completely for_____________________. (the blank space here could be you, another person, or even a collective group of people)
• Finally, write out or say aloud the above statement 10 ten times every day for as many days as it takes to sink in. Forgiveness is hard work, and in no way does it mean forgetting. However, it is worth the effort to be open to forgiveness!
The process of owning and sharing your story and then forgiveness is hard work. It is important to follow up the process with kindness. It is often quite challenging to be kind to ourselves. Take a moment and think about the last time you gave yourself a compliment or an encouraging word like you would a loved one or dear friend. Try it and see the difference it can make!
Since the first of the year, I have been practicing meditation with Headspace and Ten Percent Happier’s apps. I found meditation to be extremely helpful when changing the storylines I tell myself. Headspace has a meditation called Dealing with Regret, and another, Kindness. Both are beneficial to the process I described above.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my post*. I hope that it encouraged you in some way!
Sending you loving kindness and the courage to claim your stories! Megan Young
If you would like to read more of Megan’s blogs, you will find them at www.theimperfectjourney.org. You can also follow her Instagram at theimperfectjourney_org.
At Survivors to Thrivers, we are committed to encouraging and supporting you as you seek to embrace your healing and growth. We would love to hear what you thought of our Guest Thriver Blog. We also would love to hear your story if you would like to share it. Please know we are here to cheer you on– every step of the way!