In my last blog, I published Rose’s story; she’d been a client several years ago & suddenly felt ready to share it publicly. However she wasn’t prepared for how it would affect both her & those who read it.
Although Rose isn’t her real name, publishing her story gave her an unexpected clarity & she now feels very strongly that she owns it. Of course the responses were extremely supportive, showing Rose that she wasn’t alone.
And most importantly, she now feels ready to move on.
Why is story so important?
There’s a huge difference between what happens to you & the story you tell yourself about what happened. The story you tell is key because it determines the life you have. If you tell yourself that your life has no meaning & will be miserable, then it will be. However, if you tell yourself that you can move forward to find the gifts in the childless life, & you’re prepared to do what it takes to receive them; that’s what will happen.
Because our brains are wired for story
Human brains are wired for story. Stories are patterns & our brains love patterns. Uncertainty is an incomplete pattern that the brain doesn’t like so it fills in the gap; releasing the feel good neurotransmitter dopamine into your system & making you feel good. Job done.
Except it fills in the gap with a story, & over time these stories become the ‘truth’. For example, you may be telling yourself that because you’re not able to be a mother you’re broken or there’s something wrong with you. Let’s debunk that straight away. This is a story your brain has made up & perhaps it’s become the ‘truth’ of who you are & how you live. This is a great example of how the story you tell yourself can come true.
Your brain never stops telling stories & your world is structured around this inner dialogue & the stories it tells.
What’s this phrase ‘owning it’?
In this quote, Brené Brown encapsulates my feelings & what Rose meant when she said she now feels that she owns hers.
I believe this is what Brené means when she talks about denying your story. When you deny it, it owns you & you do everything you can to avoid telling it.
Two things happen. The more you keep it to yourself, the harder it is to be honest & open, the alternative story that you tell becomes the ‘truth’, & you move away from your authentic or true self.
When I was working, I allowed my colleagues to think I didn’t want children because it was easier than the truth. I became someone pretending to be different from who I was which was incredibly hard. Maybe you do this too.
But what does it mean?
When researching Finding Joy, I spoke to Beverly Glick, about what she understands about owning your story.
‘Own can mean many different things. In this context, for me it means ‘to have mastery’, ‘to be in command’ & ‘to have authority over’. If you have authority over your story, it means quite simply you are the author, & if you are the author of your story you can rewrite it. That’s why owning your story is important.
Owning could also mean looking at owning our story as owning all parts of self & owning everything that we are. And speaking up about all the pieces of ourselves that make us unique.
I can totally empathise why it’s so hard to own a difficult story; I know that sometimes the fear of feeling the pain can be worse than the pain itself. Certainly that was my experience when I confronted my own story around grief. For me, holding it back was far more painful than feeling it.’
Although these words might be hard hitting, pause for a moment & ask yourself;
‘isn’t this what I want; to own my story & tell it in my words?’
You know deep down that you do.
Let’s debunk the biggest story we tell, that it’s just me
Telling yourself that ‘it’s just me’ is the biggest story of all, & the one that keeps you isolated & alone. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I was the only one who was struggling with something, & how much relief I felt when someone told me that they struggled too. Debunking this myth is one of the reasons I started publishing Inspirational Stories.
As you’ve already read, Rose discovered she wasn’t alone & that was also the case for Helen Rebello. Helen first told her story openly on my blog, & she had empathy back in spades which has given her confidence to be more open about her story generally. This was also the case for my friend Ann who told her story for the first time in Femail, sharing it publicly helped her hugely. These are just 3 examples & instead of giving you more, you could browse the Inspirational Stories.
My experience of owning & telling my story is best described as step by step. Over the years of writing here & getting stronger inside I’ve gradually become more open, & obviously writing Finding Joy encouraged me to dig into new & previously unexplored aspects. Doing this has brought me to a more settled place of acceptance & peace than I thought was possible.
I’m also very conscious how the story I tell has changed since publication a year ago. As I say in the penultimate paragraph of Finding Joy ‘I am finally comfortable in my own skin & confident when I say that, ‘I absolutely love my life, the adventures I’m having & I’m excited about what will happen next.’
This is the story I tell now & the more I tell it, the more hardwired it becomes & the more it becomes true.
Writing your own brave ending
As Brené says, ‘when you own your story, you get to write your own brave ending.’
This is my plan.
Of course that doesn’t mean life will be all roses. These past few months the Universe has thrown all sorts of challenges at me & underneath all of them, those words hold true. The work I’ve done writing & sharing my story has given me a deep peace & level of acceptance for all of life.
And yes ‘I absolutely love my life, the adventures I’m having & I’m excited about what will happen next.’
Will you join me & write a brave new ending?
Ok, so now a challenge
Ok, so you probably have an idea what’s coming. I challenge you to share your story;
- How could you start to do this?
- What would you need to take one step forward, to share something small with one person?
- What about sharing on a forum, or blog? You could start by using a pseudonym.
- And, how about sharing it as an Inspirational Story here?
You can read more about how to do this here & broadly – you answer some questions I’ll send you, you can use your name, or any other & your photograph or any other. If you’d like to know more & me to send you the questions, please drop me a line at info@LesleyPyne.co.uk
Remember that Rose said she now feels ready to move on.
You want that too, don’t you?
The work I did with Beverley Glick helped me to make sense of my whole life. We discovered new patterns which showed me that many issues I thought were related to my childlessness began much earlier in my life thus enabling me to put my childlessness into the context of my whole life. In addition to ‘story mining’ Beverley assists clients to find their voice, as a speaker or writer, she does interview coaching & editing. She’s offering new services with introductory prices available until the end of August 2019, you can read more here.
This includes edited extract from Chapter One of Finding Joy … when you purchase it, you obtain access to lots of additional content including the interview I did with Bev.