Your story does not have to de­fine you

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Terry Sid­ford

AS long as lan­guage has ex­isted peo­ple have told sto­ries. Sto­ries help make sense of the world and even life it­self, con­vey­ing an un­der­stand­ing of daily events or things learned from oth­ers or our­selves.

I be­lieve sto­ries can be very pow­er­ful, in­spir­ing oth­ers to share and feel united in ways never ex­pected. In my book, One Hun­dred Hearts, I gath­ered 100 sur­veys on the sub­ject of courage from 100 women. I was as­tounded by read­ers’ re­sponses, not­ing how they felt less alone and per­haps shared their own sto­ries for the first time.

How­ever, I also be­lieve we do not need to be de­fined by our sto­ries; they are just sto­ries. In my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, by chang­ing my feel­ings in my story it ul­ti­mately changed my life and the peo­ple in it.

As a child, I thought I could fix any­thing but my mother’s drink­ing, my par­ents’ di­vorce and their bit­ter feel­ings to­wards each other I could not change. I thought I had a deep-seeded flaw. So, I went to school pre­tend­ing to be happy. I fig­ured that if I pre­tended well enough, no one would see my ex­treme sad­ness. I was sure no one would un­der­stand and I be­lieved that I was the ONLY one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing this.

I be­gan us­ing my child­hood story as an ex­cuse to not show up fully and be seen. I used it to back up why I never fin­ished col­lege, why my body wasn’t per­fect, why I let re­la­tion­ships de­fine me and why I didn’t see my­self as pretty. The list goes on. Although safe in my co­coon, peo­ple saw the crack of vul­ner­a­bil­ity leak­ing through.

Ev­ery­thing changed on the day I vis­ited a wise lady who was rec­om­mended to me by a close friend. As she ex­plained that my per­cep­tion did not need to be my re­al­ity, I felt a par­a­digm shift. She noted the peo­ple in my past never wanted to hurt me and they were hurt­ing worse than I was. They needed my un­con­di­tional love and un­der­stand­ing. I knew from the depths of my soul that she was right.

I was look­ing at my life story as a vic­tim and thought that I had no choice but to live with this feel­ing my en­tire life. I fi­nally had the op­por­tu­nity to show my pain and the


com­plete truth of who I am rather than hide my pain and pre­tend. This shift pointed me to my own strength and essence of who I am.

Now I am be­ing seen and heard for who I am and not for my old story. I now tell peo­ple how lucky I am for my past, be­cause it made me who I am to­day. It lets the peo­ple in my life be seen and heard for who they were and not de­fined by my old story.

I re­al­ized that we all have real sto­ries, but by mak­ing peace with our past, we are free to be present in this mo­ment and cre­ate our own story go­ing for­ward.


Here are some tips on cre­at­ing your own story with some sim­ple ques­tions.

If you were the film­maker of your life, what would the ti­tle be?

If you were the writer of your life, what is the name of your book?

What chap­ter are you liv­ing in now?

What is the next chap­ter go­ing to be?

Terry Sid­ford has been a cer­ti­fied life coach in the United States for the past 15 years and has as­sisted scores of peo­ple in achiev­ing their dreams. More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able from Terry’s web­site

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