I had that experience lately. A new group, a designed experience to gather us all as individuals into a group. A sharing circle…folks were becoming intimate strangers as they shared their stories. Each one thoughtfully responded to and listened to…and then the moment happened.
The story was no longer about someone else, it was mine.
Brene’ Brown teaches that others need to earn the right to hear our story before we share. I adher to that rule in my life. I have learned through painful experiences in working with folks who have been hurt that sometimes an unintentional word or moment can shatter someone who is risking sharing their truth if it is not received with intention. We all do it don’t we, rush through listening to get to our point, worry about dinner instead of the child in front of us, push on for a schedule when the moment with a friend matters more.
In that moment you feel like a goose for oversharing. For me it was utter embarrassment. In that moment it was surely about that, but as the days followed, I realized something. In sharing my past, I was seeking for someone to qualify the experience as difficult and wanting their sympathy for the experience. Yuck. REALLY? I want sympathy for a life that has brought me to where I am?
Can we say “Plot Change….REWRITE”
Too many times I get stuck in what happened not what resulted by that happening. Isn’t it easy to do, like my grandchild who has learned after learning to turn on a dramatic “ouch” that saying “I’m hurt” would get her more attention than smiles…we’ve had to unteach her that. The truth for me is that every.single.struggle has brought strength. Not always that day, but before a few days and maybe a few more experiences I learn…and I go forward again. When I have failed, not learned, or over given it has resulted in me experiencing life differently and set the discontent so that I was hungry to learn. When I tried again I was wiser, more able to embrace the current situation with more awareness. Failure has a purpose if we’ll allow it. Pain has a purpose too, if we’ll embrace it.
The pain of the experience brought wealth to a weekend’s workshop. For a few days it was about feeling “not enough” as others didn’t seem to receive the response I received…which I suspect now was schedule driven (we had to move on quickly to finish the circle’s stories) But more than that I realized something very very very valuable about myself as I, the goose of the experience, sat on my tufted seat.
The price I paid was much too dear….I was expecting complete strangers to validate my enoughness.
How often do we do that in some form or other. We consider what others will think, do, believe, or understand about a situation when truly it’s not of consequence that they know at all what we have experienced and for most folks, they do not consider or think of it at all….they know us in the now, this moment, and that is we want to live!
Wow, I sat back on that concept for the drive home. Don’t we all do it at some level? We want clothes, friends, or position to validate our enoughness? We find comfort in others telling us who or what we are through some metric we imagine to be valid (whether it is followers, fans, friends, recipes, clean enough houses, or what have you. Goosehood has many forms. The truth is we are enough, each of us. We were made to be who we are warts and all. If we are ready to learn or change, we can, if we have had a difficult detour, we can put ourselves back on track. If we have a hard past, we can rewrite the present with new experiences and literally rewire our brain’s memory and experience.
It’s never fun to realize you have growing to do. I am thankful though for the insight through the experience. The story is old, its value no longer in what happened but what became of it. Isn’t that the best part of learning and living? If we choose to, whatever we experienced can lead to a better life as we learn from the experience. That is the ticket out of the land of Gooses. Personally, I’m all for less squawking and more walking to a life I love living. Have you listened to your story lately? Do the stories you tell yourself serve you any more? After all, the past is only present if you allow it to be through your perpetuation of it!