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Twisting the Plot

Jul 28, 2020

Did you know that you have a story?  

Do you realize that your story is fluid, complex, and even inspirational?

Bella tells the story of her trauma.  She tells it over and over again.  It was a story of abuse, pain, and helplessness.  And the story always ended with Bella on the floor.  

Until Hannah asked her this question: “What happens next?”

Psychologists, anthropologists, and scientists all agree; we are a storytelling animal. But what many of us don’t realize is that we are both the protagonist and the narrator of our own story.  That story can have many perspectives and transform many times.  It all depends on where we focus, how we see it, and who we are when we tell it.

We have noticed that most of us choose to tell only part of our story.  We often tend to leave a lot out.  Sometimes we leave things out for so long that we don’t even recall them.  Our identities get formed around the stories we tell, and these stories are often incomplete.  

Psychologist Dan McAdams studies the stories we tell and identifies what he terms “redemptive stories.”   His research indicates that life stories that include our strengths and triumphs predict health and wellbeing.  

What happens when we leave out the redemptive portion of our story? 

We get stuck.  

Bella started to tell the story of how she got up from the bathroom floor. The new story was still filled with pain, but also revealed the thriving parts of Bella. 

Now Bella’s story is complex and transformative; it’s truer to Bella’s evolution. 

This week Hannah and Cecilia talk about the power of telling and retelling your story.  When we explore our story, really listen, and delve into the complexity, we can loosen the grip of a narrative that no longer fits. 

This is the first step to becoming the writer of a new and artful future.