Embracing your whole life story

April 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm | Posted in Storytelling | 1 Comment
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“Through transforming our negative, painful, or chaotic experiences into stories, we take responsibility for them, and we bring them to bear more constructively on our lives.” (Jack Maguire, The Power of Personal Storytelling)

What’s your life story like?

If it’s anything like mine your story has chapters during which relationships were rich, you felt cared for, and you acted with integrity and selflessness.

There also are passages of great fear and wounding when relationships failed, dreams were lost, and you acted against yourself or others with intolerance and rage.

Many of us seem to want to ignore or even deny those aspects of our story marked by painful experiences or our dysfunctional behavior. Yet, we are our whole life story, not just the pleasant parts. When we refuse to recognize hurtful episodes, we shut off major elements of our identity as well as opportunities to learn about ourselves.

Until we’re able to accept our full story — without shame or guilt — we cannot grow into our authentic selves. As David Benner writes in The Gift of Being Yourself, “You can never be other than who you are until you are willing to embrace the reality of who you are. Only then can you truly become who you are most deeply called to be.”

I hope you have an emotionally safe relationship or environment in which to share and explore the nuances of your distinctive story . . . a place where others you trust listen closely to you and honor you for all that you are and all that you’re becoming.

The Storytellers process that I facilitate for small groups can be such an environment. Please contact me if you’d like to learn more about Storytellers.

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  1. Personal storytelling — in the presence of others who can listen well and graciously protect the storyteller’s heart — is a deeply healing experience.

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