Before making big changes in life you often have to deal with the baggage you already carry. You probably know what I’m talking about. We all have a history of some sort, with hurt, disappointment and even trauma.
Does your past haunt you, affect your self-esteem and life choices, or cause you ongoing anxiety? Well, there is one big thing you can do to help, to get the hard stuff out of your head… and it means telling your story in detail.
There are a couple of ways of doing this.
- Write it out. You can start from the beginning work your way up to the present, or pick particular events that you need to deal with. No-one else has to read it, you can destroy it afterwards if you prefer. Or you may be inspired to write a book – who knows? If you tell your story from the beginning it can be amazing what comes out, things you may not have thought about for years.
- Tell someone trustworthy. There may be an anonymous support line you could call if there is no-one good in your circle of relationships. Or a therapist if you have access to one. If you feel safe, talk about your experiences with someone who was there too.
- Record yourself telling the story (privately). Again, you don’t have to keep it afterwards.
The reason why this is helpful is that often we have never really spoken the truth of our experience out loud. Just doing this can be a relief. Sometimes hearing ourselves tell our own story can even change our perspective on the circumstances, or make us realize new things about ourselves or others. Maybe you will discover strengths you did not know you had.
Don’t forget, it’s ok to say – ‘that really hurt’. There is no point pretending it didn’t. We often fall into the trap of minimizing our experiences to protect the feelings of others or to not look ‘weak’.
Some of us carry deeper wounds than others, and may suffer from post-traumatic stress for years afterwards. I will address this topic soon.
**Safety Point** – There may be things that you know you are not ready to open up about. That is ok. There may be a point in the future where you are safe to go there. In the meantime, try addressing other things that you are ready to talk about.