Will You Tell Me Your Story?
Speaking our truth is tricky if we've never edited the version the world imprinted on our hearts.
Many neurodivergent folks report a lifetime of rarely feeling heard and seen. Being heard has healing power for those who are silenced, but it's not the ultimate goal.
We may notice new things with each telling of our story. It's like trying to watch a show on a channel we're subscribed to, but our bunny ears antennae are only partially picking up. If we stare long enough, our brain will fill in the details, and we will feel like we watched the episode.
What if we looked at our lives with that kind of determination?
As you share bits of ourselves, we notice other parts fill in and shift our perspective on the whole screen.
For many of us, externalizing through spoken or written words helps to bring order from chaos. However, we stick with the safe stories we know will land— leaving the vulnerable ones, the forgotten ones, and the secret ones tucked somewhere inside.
Our body holds our stories.
The human body is incredible. It engages our nervous system and brain to help us meet our needs for rest, connection, nourishment, and hydration.
Our body also reminds us of unhealed stories through physiological shifts known as triggers. A trigger is something that sparks a memory of an event or emotion, often engaging our stress response.
One way to settle our nervous system and manage triggers is to tell our stories from a new vantage point. This challenges any unhelpful core beliefs, negative self-talk, and self-trust.
Our opinion of ourselves is rooted in the stories playing in our head each day.
To begin rewriting our stories, we can practice telling parts of it to others. In the telling, we will hear and see things we could not have seen at the time. Sometimes the audience we share with impacts the details that come forward.
It's important for us to tell our stories for the sake of the telling. Telling our story gives us access to more of our story.
When we share our stories with each other, the point is to witness stories for one another - no advice, no feedback.
You can begin this practice by yourself or with someone else, depending on whatever is best for you.
Tell a part of your story you want to tell and notice how your body feels during and after the telling.
Pull up a memory – any memory. Your first kiss, a heartbreak, favorite teacher, worst habit, a regret, a cherished experience, etc.
What did you need?
What did you get?
What did you not get?
What do you notice about the scenario in hindsight? Anything out of place? Anything you've not recognized before?
How do you want to feel about it?
Telling your story in chunks can help you zoom out and see more context and connections. It makes it easier to extend compassion to yourself and see where your strengths were showing up.
What did you learn about yourself?
How did you learn it?
If you struggle with writing or speaking, try mind-mapping your story. As you look at the map, you will notice themes and insights emerge.