National Writing Day
Writing your story
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”.
Emotional and autobiographical story telling can have huge benefits to both you and others who might be inspired by your journey. The benefits of journaling are well documented, but even just writing on one or two occasions can bring about major benefits in wellbeing. Writing can be an amazing tool for personal growth and self-exploration, and others can benefit from your personal discoveries.
Writing your story can help build resilience – you’ll reflect on what’s happened in a more objective way and with objectivity comes self-compassion. Survivors of domestic abuse are often hampered by self-criticism, imagining they’re at fault for much of the abuse they were subjected to. It’s not until they’re able to step out of the situation and look in, an ability that comes with committing the experience to writing, that they can view their abuse with a realism that this detachment gives. This can help to stop endless rumination and self-blame, which is so damaging to rebuilding self-esteem following abuse.
As well as helping to develop self-worth, writing your story can also help you understand your life’s meaning. The process will allow you to discover what’s important to you, your values, goals and aspirations. Much self-development comes from this personal reflection and as every therapist will tell you, we are the experts on ourselves and we have our own answers – writing, like therapy is a medium for bringing those answers to the surface.
“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind”.
Telling your story in written form might be the first time you properly tell it. There is a freedom that can be gained from getting it out, articulating what happened, expressing what you may have previously thought couldn’t be said. It’s possible to distance yourself from traumatic events by telling the story – you can become more detached from the events and the negative feelings surrounding them. It’s possible to use metaphors to enable you to explore deeply painful experiences in a safer way. Insights gained from this process will allow for different and more positive choices in the future.
Your written story might be a personal exploration not to be shared, you don’t need to disclose to others to gain many benefits from the process. However, sharing your story, if this is what’s right for you can come with additional benefits. Nothing is more compelling, inspiring or meaningful than a real story of struggle over adversity. You can make a real difference to others who might be facing similar situations, you could give hope to those who can’t yet see a way out, you can inspire motivation in those who lack energy, you can give direction to those who need guidance.
Several of the women Broxtowe Women’s Project have supported have been kind enough to share their stories. We know from feedback received that these stories have proved inspirational to many reading them. Real experiences tend to resonate better than general blogs. Feedback from the women suggests the process of writing and sharing has been very cathartic for them. Everyone suffers adversity at times, everyone has a story to tell. Whether you write your story for your own personal reflection, or share it with others, there is much personal growth that can be gained from the process. Today is National Writing Day, spend some time today thinking about your own story.
“I can shake off everything as I write, my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
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