Do you remember that assignment you got at least once, if not a few times, in school where your teacher asked you to write your autobiography? I recall thinking, “There’s not much to say, I’m only 12!” Turns out that story writing exercise can help us build our resilience muscles. Remember those? We’ve talked about them a fair amount because you know what? They are sort of like the abdominal muscles of the brain!
What’s the thinking here? Well, we tend to get stuck in our narratives and we even come to believe them. Guess what? In writing and ultimately re-writing our stories, we give ourselves permission to write a new and exciting chapter in our lives.
We discussed last week the importance of being as optimistic as possible and this exercise is basically an extension of that. What is being asked of you is to put a new frame on the history of your life. Rather than looking at situations or events as being negative, the process of putting them into a more positive light, of stating clearly how you slogged through, can be of tremendous benefit.
My clients often moan and groan when I re-frame things in a different (and usually positive) light; we become so accustomed to our own negative self talk that we sometimes don’t even hear it. “I’m never going to be able to have…”, “I was never given a chance and now its too late…” or “You don’t know how tough it was…” You’re right – at some point we’re going to have to make our peace with the idea that we won’t be the youngest anything, you might not have been given a chance at something but no, it’s not too late and yes, I’m sure it was tough/awful/unpleasant/embarrassing but that was then and this is now. Please hear me; this is not meant to minimize the impact any experience has had on you. What I wish to convey is that if you want to move your life in the direction of your choosing, you must also give up all that negative baggage.
How to do that? Write. Really, sit down with paper and pen and write. In your old school notebook, in your kid’s half used and on the recycling pile notebook, on the back of an old envelope. There’s just one thing – you’ve got to keep it in the positive. Tell yourself what you learned, what you appreciated, what growth you had from an experience.
There is something nearly magical about writing with a pen, pressing it into the paper and allowing it to bounce around in your head. We know this, science backs this up and now its time for you to sit down, or stand at your favorite countertop and write. Write affirmations if that helps you. Write out a story and how you overcome, got through, found the silver lining.
Got something to share? I’d love to read your story. I’m not kidding. Share and hear your own growth, your own wisdom.
Want some extra support? I’m right here just for that purpose. Give a shout out, get on my calendar and let’s see where you can go when you have all the energy you need!
Wishing you the best for your week!