Write your own story

February 25, 2015  •  4 Comments

Write your own story

"Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." ~ Brene' Brown

Are you trying to find your place in this world, following a dream, working to create the life you want to live but keep getting sidetracked by what the world tells you to do?  Read on and discover how owning your story is the one thing that can lead you to live a life of abundance.   Sharing your story can inspire others to write their story.

In order to be remember who we are we must forget who they told us to be.  When we allow the words and actions of others to influence our actions we succumb to the judgment of others.  So many times we set out our goals and have a plan to achieve them but are met with negativity and questions:  "You’ll never make a living doing that, that’s an awful lot to take on, you can't do that, many people fail at that" those are just a few of the negative messages we hear when we vocalize our goals and dreams.  Why would you want to do that?  Answer:  Because it’s who I am, it’s who I was created to be.

Are you your own worst critic?  Do you encourage yourself to seek adventure, to get creative in your workplace or do you allow others to dictate what and who you should be?  The stories we tell ourselves can be great motivators — but if they’re written by our inner critics it can be difficult to achieve what we want. What story do you tell yourself?

Forgetting who “they” told you to be:  Judgment vs. Discernment

Discernment is the cognitive ability of a person to distinguish what is appropriate or inappropriate.  With discernment we make good choices for ourselves, and for the good of others around us.  The line between discernment and judgment can be difficult to draw.  Discernment is described as keen perception and insight.  Discernment is about seeing things as they are from our inner self, not from outer rigid standards, opinions, or social pressures.  Judgment is opinion, criticism and the power of comparing.  Judgment feeds the ego’s deception of being better (or worse) than someone or something else.  

To judge others is to shame them.  We believe ourselves to be better or worse than others when we judge others and therefore can never experience true inner peace.  Judging others and allowing ourselves to be judged by others creates shame & doubt.  When we exercise discernment, we perceive appropriate actions and attitudes and develop the ability to look beyond our doubts and focus on creating the life we want to live.

When we roll up our sleeves and put our work boots on we often times let the negative messages (judgments) we have heard sneak into our thinking.  Especially when we incur an obstacle along our path.  It is really important when we face challenges that we do not compare our Chapter 1 with someone else’s Chapter 20.  We tend to let self-doubt sneak into our thinking when we stumble on the way to the life we want to live.  When we read someone else’s bestselling novel, it’s important to not get caught up in their story and their success and remember to focus on our own journey.  Everyone’s story starts as an idea before a pen even hits the paper.  Should we seek mentors and experts in our field of endeavor in order to reach our goals – Yes!  Should we attempt to duplicate or compare ourselves to others – ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Our lives are a canvas to be painted, CREATE the life you want to LIVE!

Make your life a story worth telling

Our brains become more active when we tell stories.  When the woman spoke English the volunteers understood her story and their brains synchronized.  When she had activity in her insula, (an emotional brain region), the listeners did too.  When her frontal cortex lit up so did theirs”  By simply telling a story the women could plant ideas thoughts and emotions into the listeners brains" ~ Uri Hassin Princeton University.

Story telling is one of the most powerful tools we have as humans to communicate and motivate.  When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen, share your heart.  Expose yourself to your deepest fear, after that fear has no power and freedom steps in.  We have a daily choice to choose fear or faith.  Fear appears as worry, stress, and anger.  When we are presented with a burden, we have the conscious choice to choose faith to believe we can actively overcome the problem or we can choose to fear and worry over the situation.  This is not an easy choice to make and we have to retrain our brains daily to seek faith.

Owning your story

Dr. Brene' Brown in her book The Gifts of Imperfection states:  "Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belong and joy".  In the process of owning our story we take captive all the negative thoughts and the shame we have been burdened with.  Shame that comes from allowing the judgment of others to impact our lives.  Our stories are what empower us to live the life we want to live.  Our stories inspire others to do the same.  

What’s my story?

When filling out documents that require I check my marital status, I check widowed.  However, a simple checked box does not begin to tell the story.  The “short story” version of my marital status reads like this:  I was living in an abusive relationship, after several years I built up enough courage to leave.  One week prior to our divorce becoming final my soon to be ex-husband was killed in a head-on highway collision.  I have yet to see any form that has a box for that status.

Remember, this is my story.  Everyone involved in my story has their own story related to the situation.  My son’s story is one of losing his father at age 11.  My former husband’s family and friends stories surround their loss of a son, brother, co-worker and friend.  My family and friends stories involve the concerns and frustrations for my safety and well-being. 

How does a well-educated, successful and seemingly happy woman succumb to a relationship filled with abuse?  In a word:  shame.  Dr. Brene' Brown defines shame as the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.  When living in a abusive relationship shame slowly creeps in and tells us we are not good enough, that we are not worthy.  Shame needs three things to grow:  secrecy, silence and judgement.  Living in an abusive relationship is a perfect "petrie dish" for shame to grow.  As a victim you hide the abuse, you don't talk about it. You put a smile on your face when you go out in public.  You excuse away all the toxic behaviors in your relationship.  You take "until death do we part" seriously and do not want to have to admit to a failed marriage.  As Dr. Brown states in this video, if we put the same amount of shame in a petrie dish and douse it with empathy, shame will not survive.  Shame cannot survive being spoken.  The challenge is finding the courage to speak your shame, to share your story.  To tell a story is an act of courage and one of the gifts of storytelling is empathy. Remember, shame cannot survive empathy.   We must find the courage to own our story and to share it with others.  It is the only pathway to our authentic self.  It is also important to understand the difference (here is where you get to exercise discernment) of sharing every detail about your story vs. framing your story in a way that it encourages others to find their way out of the darkness of their shame.  Watch this video:

it will help you understand how to share your story with those who have earned the right to hear your story.  It also talks about the importance of having a "move the body" friend that has earned the right to hear your entire story and whose empathy will help drive away your shame.

So many of us have endured burdens in life: death, divorce, abuse, sickness, and tragedy.  It is in our own unique experiences with our greatest burdens that we have the opportunity to find our greatest blessings.  It is in sharing the blessings of our burdens that we inspire and empower others to challenge their burdens so that they may begin to live the life they wish to live.  Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we'll ever do.  Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.

Being authentic and genuine and truthful about our story leads to authenticity (read about it here).  Authenticity is the birthplace of everything we seek:  happiness, joy, creativity, faith, innovation, and love  There is no innovation and creativity without failure.  Being vulnerable and owning and sharing our story is not easy, however; vulnerability is the birthplace of change and without it we will not live a life of abundance.

If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive. ~ Brene’ Brown

Those lights shine the brightest that bear the heaviest loads. Let your light shine before others, so that they may be inspired to find the light within them.  What’s your story?


Born to Fly Girl
Vicki, it is a continual struggle for all of us. That little voice in our head that says "no one wants to hear my story" or "I'm not important" are thoughts derived from shame. Yes, we make ourselves vulnerable by putting our stories out there, but that is also the only way we grow. We must first be vulnerable before we become strong and confident.
Born to Fly Girl
Your welcome Linda! Yes, we all have a story to tell and it's important to share our stories. It is in the courage of sharing our stories that we build connection with one another. Sharing our story give others permission to share theirs.
Vicki Gertje(non-registered)
I struggle with the thoughts in my head that tell me, "Nobody's interested in your story!" or, "You're not very good at telling a story. You're better off not saying anything. Just keep quiet." Maybe that stems from shame. Now there's a thought that goes right along with what you said!
Very informative blog, Chris, and well written.
Linda Wirch(non-registered)
This was a very good read Chris. We all have a story that should be told. Time to let the light shine...thanks for the inspiration!
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