When you were a child, hopefully someone read stories to you. Then hopefully, you learned to read and you read lots of books. Perhaps they were fantasy, perhaps they were mysteries, perhaps they were adventure, perhaps they were romance. Or politics, war, history, and religion. His-story. What about Her-story?
What are your stories? Do you have the courage to tell them?
This past week, I was invited to tell my 'story.' Twice. I was thinking about this while I took a shower this morning. What could I conclude by being asked twice in the same week? I tend to be a bit long-winded (self perception) when someone invites me to tell how I was able to walk again after being wheelchair dependent for about five years. How does one explain in just a few minutes the complex process of what I went through to get back on my feet? Or how the stress of life circumstances kept me incapacitated? After all, it wasn't something simple like having non-invasive back surgery.
Because I couldn't get the help I needed and didn't know what type of help would benefit me the most, the journey was a complex one. I decided to read, study, and research for myself how to get myself better. Now that I reflect back on these years, I realize I must have somehow known I COULD get better.
I had to come to terms with the Law of Attraction... how I was inviting most of the disastrous scenarios into my life because it was all I was focused on.
I found out about the 10 forms of twisted thinking (cognitive distortions) which led to my being able to finally climb out of the black hole I fell into. I'm sure it helped that I acknowledged I had every single one of them. When I discovered my thoughts were all twisted and my conclusions mostly false, I got excited because this meant I could find the ones that were true!
I learned that stress, my perception of life events, and lack of knowledge of stress-reduction techniques kept me incapacitated. Stress is a complex mix ranging from negative thoughts, a sedentary life, poor nutrition, side effects to medications, grief, and more. When the stress subsided, the sun in my world came out. Literally. Imagine waking up one day and actually noticing the sun was shining and the sky was blue.
Yes, I had lots of stories. However, the people I told my stories to didn't want to hear them so their responses affected my self-esteem.
I used to tell lots of stories about how bad everything was in my life. There weren't any happy endings... and there's nothing like hearing from others that one of my stories was about their life, too... only they didn't know how to tell their own story... or like I used to feel, that no one cared or would listen.
Google search or type in the YouTube search box 'TED Talks' and you will find many stories. The rage now is to incorporate story-telling to create connections with other people... in politics, religion... even in sales and marketing. The catch is, you must find the right audience to listen to them. Family may not be this audience, especially when they are caught up in their own toxic life, yet refuse to tell anyone what's going on inside their head.
I Googled the Psychology of Storytelling and found an article in Psychology Today.
Here's the link so you can read the rest of the article:
The Psychological Power of Story-Telling
I really like this part:
"Stories are about collaboration and connection. They transcend generations, they engage us through emotions, and they connect us to others. Through stories we share passions, sadness, hardships and joys. We share meaning and purpose. Stories are the common ground that allows people to communicate, overcoming our defenses and our differences. Stories allow us to understand ourselves better and to find our commonality with others."
I wish I knew back then what I know now, how important my stories were and still are. Now that I am in Toastmasters, I am learning how to tweak them to become specific speeches. My challenge is figuring out how to condense my really long stories down to five minutes and choosing which parts of the stories would have the most impact.
I also can't help but wonder if our core desire to have good stories to tell resulted in the life we experience. Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Do we decide what our stories will be before we are born? Was the life we lived created by these stories? When we figure out we are powerful creators - creating our own lives, can we completely change gears and create a new one? So far, I am finding the answer to this last question to be yes.
What's more, I recently published two new books. The first, Alternate Realities: Daydreams of Conversations is a collection of short stories based on my life experiences only with imaginary happy endings.
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