Why Telling Our Story Helps
Therapy provides a chance to tell our story. To wrap words around our experiences so that we may begin to understand them. Our story may be tragic, it may be strange, it may be traumatic. But it is ours to own and ours to tell.
A well known defence in the face of difficult life experiences is denial – a mechanism used to defer the suffering that occurs when we encounter loss, betrayal, failure and humiliation. Though temporarily powerful in preventing us from feelings of overwhelm, in the long term, it only serves to divorce us from our sense of self, all the while preventing us from seeking the true remedy to life’s wounds – healing.
Engaging in talking therapy is an act of acceptance. It requires a surrender to that which we wish never happened, but did. It cannot ‘undo’ and those who enter therapy in an attempt to erase their stories will not heal. Indeed it is by embracing the story we have to tell that we can separate ourselves from it. Here we find great release as we begin to enjoy some distance from the experiences we assumed defined us.
From this more objective vantage point, we can adopt a new strategy, whereby we begin to treat ourselves with the kindness and compassion we would quite naturally show to a loved one or even a complete stranger should they be brave enough to tell us their stories.
Therapy involves a translating of visceral experience in to an ordered narrative, in turn facilitating the healing process and allowing us to move past our past to engage with the very precious present moment and all it may have to offer us.