Own Your Story… Even When It Hurts!

World Mental Health Day was this week, and it was great to see people talking about Mental Health on Social Media and sharing its impact on their lives. Mental Health affects us all and it can be weaved into our own personal story or through that of a loved one.

I was reminded this week of a Brené Brown quote I saw on Instagram recently and it got me thinking about stories. Earlier on this year I’d attended a staff development training session on storytelling. You can read about it here.

I’m not often brave enough to share my story with people, other than those who know me well. I’ll occasionally share glimpses of it, but it makes me who I am.

All too often we hide our story from the world… or we only share in part. We don’t always like being vulnerable (well I don’t anyway). In the world of social media, we like to filter everything and present the best version of ourselves, but this isn’t real life!

Are we prepared to be vulnerable and own our story?

I’ve been on a journey with this over the past few years… I’ve hidden away from the people closest to me and often filtered my life or only posted business related things because it was easier and less painful.

Going through a separation and divorce is not a chapter I ever thought would feature in my story. It’s not the fairytale I dreamed of as a little girl, but nevertheless, it was an unwanted plot twist that occurred two years ago this week. I was never in denial about the situation, but naturally there is the grief process that goes along with owning this part of the story. I thought having lost my mum (and other close family members over the years) that I knew how to deal with grief, but this was different. There was an anger and bitterness that felt every so often, could so easily could have consumed me, but I made a choice… I wasn’t going to become like Meredith Grey “I go a little dark and twisty, but then I come back.”

Owning part of the story was easy, there was a reality, a separation, a finality and rejection which made the next part… the learning to love the person I am so much harder. I defaulted to hiding away for a while. Chronic migraines, a horrible fall in the shower resulting in a black eye, cracked ribs and other injuries and a broken ankle in 2017 made it easy in some ways to hide away. Thankfully I have great family and friends who stuck by me through it all and loved me back to life and reminded me who I was… I’m more than my marital status. It doesn’t define me, just as my job, degree, family/friendship groups don’t define me.

Often we can feel like the difficult parts of our story define us, but when we take ownership of them, we can use them and let them make us stronger people so that we become  a better version of ourselves.

Earlier this year, I decided that I was done hiding away and just surviving, it was time to thrive again and like the person I am… let’s take it one step at a time. I’m not sure that I love who I am yet, but it’s a journey. I like myself, not just because of my academic achievements or because I have my own business or because of a million other things… I actually like who I am because I’m unique, creative, designed with a purpose (even if I don’t always know what that is) and all of those things mean #iamenough

Own-our-history.-Change-the-story.

I look forward to what the future holds, with family, friends (old and new). It’s time to start a new chapter and at this point, I don’t know what that will look like, but hopefully it will be a brave new ending.

By owning and sharing my story, I hope it helps you to do the same. Don’t feel you have to do it publicly (unless you want to, there’s no pressure) but hopefully you can share with family/friends.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Gill x

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