If you wanted to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren that portrayed what life was like both growing up and as an adult, what would you say? What important and life changing events and people would be in your stories? What funny tales would you share; just thinking about them makes you laugh out loud.
In putting together a speech I am giving this week to a group of writers on writing memoirs, I was reminded again on how important it is to take time, go back and explore our past. We have so many stories to tell – stories that only we can tell – in our voice and as we experienced them.
Writing your own story is powerful and gives voice to what you have lived – it allows you to be heard. Clarity comes as you begin to write. It is a way to gather your thoughts clearly and coherently to piece together all your experiences, re-examine events objectively, and come to terms with life altering change.
Reflecting and writing gives us the opportunity to grieve old losses, heal old wounds and put to rest difficult memories.
As you write, identify your strengths and abilities. It will help you gain a greater appreciation of yourself and others. When we can accept and celebrate all the parts of our life’s journey – the good, the bad and the ugly – we are able to integrate them into a new whole that has balance, grace and compassion.
Growing up we make interpretations of our experiences that form perceptions of who we think we are based on those meanings.
We will have experienced both happy and hurtful situations but tend to forget the happy times and dwell only on the unhappy ones.
In my new program, “Yes I can, Three Steps to Empower Your Life,” I suggest in Step One that you go back to your roots and make a list of all the things that impacted you growing up. What events were especially memorable? Who supported and encouraged you? Which events and people were not affirming and positive?
Then take some sheets of paper and write about each of them. What can you say today that you couldn’t before? Who would you like to thank? Write them a thank you note. What elements of your story can you reframe and expand to bring more clarity and understanding to your life story?
Keep in mind that early serious psychological wounds inflicted by others were people themselves who struggled with a lack of worth, esteem and value. And unfair comparisons we may have experienced are just that – unfair comparisons.
It is important to also remember that we are not our pain, shame or abused child. These are things that may have happened, but they do not define who we are, unless we allow them to. We can take away a larger message of discovering our value and worth.
While our experiences help shape us, we are the final determiners of how we will use and apply our past today. Affirm your ability to be who you were meant to be. Believe in yourself.
So take some time in the weeks to come to explore and write about the events you lived. What lessons did you learn? What bigger value can you take away that you didn’t see before?
As you write, be honest and genuine. Don’t embellish or take away. When you can express your weaknesses and shortcomings to yourself and others along with your strengths and triumphs, you and your story will become more human, relatable and engaging.
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