It’s time to rewrite the stories of the broken. For those who feel imprisoned by chains of anxiety, depression, disorders, shame and isolation to find freedom.
For families that have been devastated for generations to be rebuilt.
Time for those who have been marginalized or misunderstood to be brought close and renamed, welcomed, be loved, and worthy.
Connie Jakab is a Calgarian, ministry colleague and the author of Culture Rebel and When The Dead Live. Connie’s passionate about rebelling against status quo living and encouraging others to branch out. She’s the creator of The Courage Program as the Artistic Director of Movement With A Message (movementwithamessage.com). She’s genuine. Connie excels at imparting compassion and courage, especially into the lives of students.
Before you were born, people were already telling your story. What gender you were, a possible name, what features they hoped you would inherit, and what features they hope you would not.
Maybe the story being told about you was that your parents longed for you, or maybe no one wanted you.
And maybe the story was one of fear of the world you were coming into; a teenage single mom, poverty, or a home filled with domestic violence.
Your story started even before your parents story began and goes past your parents’ parents.
Our family history creates the foundation from which our story picks up. When we come into the world others add to our story: “Isn’t he cute?” “She’s a little chubby baby.” “Why is he so small?” “Such a colicky baby.”
Others further add to the story as we grow. “She’s just shy.” “Don’t mind my lil monster, he’s a handful.” “She’s uncontrollable.”
And further still – she’s anxious, he’s depressed, she has ADHD, he’s oppositional, What’s wrong with you?! Weirdo, freak, geek, slut, gay, jerk, delinquent, lazy.
The additions people make to our stories never stop and this influences how we tell our own story.
What I tell myself, the story I write, is influenced by those closest to me: parents, foster parents, teachers, intimate partners. Our story we tell ourselves right now is being held by a larger story.
Our story is encoded by our implicit memory.
Implicit memory has no record of time. It remembers what was spoken and created in us – even to the extent of what wasn’t spoken, but we wished would have been.
60-90% of communication is non verbal.
We pick up what what is being spoken without words and remember it in our implicit memory. Our actions and emotions reveal what was written on our implicit memory.
This is why we go into situations already assuming what will happen, “They will think I’m stupid.” “This isn’t going to work.” “No one ever stays in a relationship with me.”
You could call the underlying emotion created by the events in our implicit memory, shame.
More than any diagnosis or mental health issue, shame is our nemesis.
And shame is at an epidemic level.
It’s dangerous because we often shape our stories around shame because shame is created in us by those closest to us. When we experience shame it’s debilitating. The story I have created in my mind from shame, whether true or not, has now shaped my perception of the world around me, and of you.
Shame didn’t enter our story through one large life event, but snuck in through a series of small events. We think to ourselves, “No one else struggles with this.”
Anxiety is often shame in disguise, “I am not enough to handle this situation.”
Hidden In Isolation
- We hide. From our co-workers and acquaintances, but we also hide from our partner, our kids, our family. We are present, but not present. Often when people become brave to tell their story after their struggle you will hear them say, “No one knew.”
- The problem is that shame only grows the more we hide in isolation. Being hidden is the opposite of being known, but being known is the answer to conquering shame.
Being known requires more courage than you alone will ever have, because to be known to takes the participation of an “other”.
Shame wants to disconnect people. But hear this – if we become courageous enough to tell our story to people attuned to us…our story becomes rewritten. Our stories are rewritten when we find safe, compassionate, community.
This literally rewires our brain.
When we rewrite the stories of others it doesn’t just rewrite their story, but the stories who will come after them.
Rewriting The Stories Of Generations To Come
- Seeing others gives them what every human needs: to be understood. When mental health issues rise, we must look to how we are contributing to others as the problem, but also as the solution. We are agents of redemption. This is our mandate, our responsibility that does not require a degree, but a heart of compassion.
- It’s time to rewrite the stories of the broken by courageously choosing to face ourselves and others. We can’t embrace compassion for others without experiencing compassion for ourselves. Can I in myself cultivate the kind of compassion needed to write others stories well if I can’t myself? Perhaps there is an opportunity to be “known” by a loving Creator and embrace our belovedness.
- We are dependent on one another for our stories. This is a risk because there are no guarantees when imperfect people are involved.
Learning to tell our stories in safe community heals us, connects us, rebuilds us… together.
APPLICATION: Please share this post. Leave a comment for Connie below on how her insights connected with you. Purchase a copy of her book, When The Dead Live. Thank you.
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