Life is lived through story and the story you tell yourself is the biggest of all because it determines the life you have.
If you tell yourself that your life has no meaning and will be miserable, then that’s what it will be. However if, like the Inspirational Story tellers you tell yourself that there are gifts in the childless life and you’re prepared to do the work to get there, that’s what will happen.
A bit of theory
Your brain is wired for story. Stories are patterns and you get a shot of dopamine when the brain recognises a complete pattern. The brain sees uncertainly as an incomplete pattern so it scrambles to complete it and give you the chemical reward.
The problem is it fills the gap with stories of who’s good and who’s bad and most of the time these stories become the ‘truth’. For example, do you think that, because you can’t have children you’re broken or there’s something wrong with you?
Let’s debunk that straight away, this is a story your brain made up and now it’s become the ‘truth’ of who you are and how you live. I could add more, but I’m sure you can see from this one example how a story can come ‘the truth’?
When you deny your story, it owns you.
When you deny your pain, it owns you.
Do you hide your childlessness from friends or family?
Do you let others think you didn’t want children?
If you’re hiding the truth of your life and what happened to you is, I believe what Brené means when she talks about denying your story.
When you’re in the middle of grieving it feels too difficult to tell others the truth of your life. And after a while it becomes a habit that’s hard to change. It owns you so you do everything you can to avoid telling it, and two things happen.
Firstly the more you keep it to yourself the harder it becomes to be honest and open, and the alternative story that you tell becomes the ‘truth’ and you move away from authentic or true self. That was me for many years; friends and work colleagues knew I didn’t have children, but for many years none of them knew why. And the longer I kept it to myself, the harder it was to open up. The skill is knowing when to change the habit.
Which leads me on to the second thing – you also become someone who’s not living to their truth, and you don’t need me to tell you how hard this is.
When you own your story, you get to write your own brave ending
When you own your pain, it sets you free.
This means firstly being honest with YOURSELF about the reality of your life, finally and completely accepting that you’re childless.
And yes, I know this is a BIG thing, but think about it for a moment, if you continue to deny this truth, how are you ever going to be happy? And yes I also know there’s no magic wand, it takes time and work
Secondly it means taking responsibility for your life and how you talk to yourself, it means stopping playing the victim and blaming others for what’s happened. When you do this you can make meaning out of what happened and start to become your true self. You can make a start by reading the e-book which you get when signing up to my email list, it’s a great place to start.
And thirdly it means being honest with others about who you are and the truth of your life. This doesn’t mean telling your story to the world, but starting to open up a bit to friends or family in a gently and safe way.
Keep denying your story and stop living
Maybe all of this is too much and you’ve taken a big deep breath and are holding your hands up in horror, OR perhaps you can see this as a gentle invitation to reconnect with yourself and with life. Because the truth is you’re not REALLY living now, are you?
You know how important relationships are suffering because of the barriers you’ve created, and you can feel the pain caused by stopping others getting close.
Imagine instead how wonderful it would be to bring your story to the light, integrate it into your life and stop it haunting you.
You can write your own brave ending
This is my wish for you and why I’m writing a book. I want you to be able to say; ‘yes I am childless, it was incredibly hard and I felt completely alone. And then I got help and even though I won’t have the life I dreamed of, I know how I can have a fulfilling life.’
How wonderful would that be?
Your experience so far tells you that you can’t control the story of your life BUT you can control your character in it. In fact it’s just about the only thing you can control.
So let’s end with a question, what would it take for you to own your story write your brave new ending? Please share your thoughts and comments below.