I am starting my story today with the last picture I took yesterday, in my office.
I wrote that in a therapy session, where somebody was telling a personal story with paralyzingly harsh self-judgment and hopelessness about the future.
I have witnessed, many times, how people can get stuck in negative stories about themselves, ignoring positive exceptions and different perspectives.
Yesterday, I encouraged that person in therapy to
- let go of an overwhelming and crippling sense of personal failure,
- to see themselves as the hero of their own story, and
- to allow for the possibility of hope and change.
And by the end of the session, there were some glimmers of hope about the future.
How are you telling your own story these days, to yourself and to others? Are you the hero of your own story? I hope so, because who else could possibly play that role, in The Story of You?
How might I tell the story of the photos I took yesterday, presented here in chronological order?
Each of us could tell the story of those pictures in many different ways — depending upon what we notice and the history and assumptions we bring to those images.
I’ll tell you my story of this photo:
Everybody is self centered. The difference is the size of the radius.
And here’s my story about these two:
I have no idea how those photos got on my iPhone.
As I often see in clients (and in myself, too), negative stories tend to stick, leaving less room for the positive ones.
For example, 10 days ago, a cardiologist told a doom-filled, scarily negative story to me, about me, my health, and my future, even though he had just met me and had no medical tests on hand about my very unusual heart. Ever since that very upsetting encounter, I’ve been trying to get that negative story out of my head, by telling parts of it here and elsewhere.
Retelling a story sometimes includes rewriting new dialogue. For instance, since I was too shocked to respond to that cardiologist telling me that — if I didn’t have valve surgery as soon as possible — I would “die a miserable death, ” I am now wishing I had changed that story by replying:
Well, at least I am not living your miserable life.
I don’t know if that’s the best way to tell that story, but I am hoping that telling and re-telling the story of that miserable doctor’s visit — with or without new dialogue — will help me let that story go.
Based on the advice of several people I respect, I am seriously considering telling the full story of my awful meeting with that doctor to the appropriate hospital authorities. My main reasons for doing that would be
- to prevent other people from telling an upsetting story about encountering this doctor in the future and
- to help put that anxiety-provoking story behind me, as I prepare for a less invasive surgery on May 4th and allow room for the more hopeful and complete stories my long-time doctors are telling about my unusual, story-telling heart.
What will I do in the future, with that upsetting doctor story? I am in the process of figuring out what will benefit me and my personal story, going forward. In other words, the ending of that story hasn’t been written, yet.
Speaking of ending a story, what musical story should I include, now?
Bette Midler tells an amazing story, doesn’t she?
Many thanks to Bette Midler and to all who help me tell my story in a hopeful and healthy way, and special thanks to you — of course!– for reading my story, today.