35 years ago, I revealed a terrible secret.
I told my friend something that she was not supposed to know. It was a dreadful secret that had been held in their family forever.
She was innocent and the news was devastating. It was information that would affect the rest of her life.
I got into terrible trouble.
I had not thought about this incident for years, perhaps not since it happened. That is until this week.
You see, this week, I did it again.
I revealed a secret to people I care about, it was something they were not supposed to know. And yes, I got into trouble again.
So it got me thinking about secrets. And why it seems that I have such a hard time keeping them!
In both cases I was also innocent. I did not know that the information was a secret.
Now you’d be right in asking, what happens when you tell a storyteller a fascinating story, she’s not going to tell it?
In my family, they told the children everything. At least that’s how it felt to us kids. There were no secrets. What was spoken about was discussed amongst us all. Silly me, I thought all families were like that.
It seems that it has taken me 35 years to realize that this is not the case!
It amazes me that, once again, life has gone the full circle, the full story circle. In dealing with my faux-pas this week, I have had the wonderful opportunity to dig up the old story and work through the pain, the injustice of a young child punished for a mistake.
Story work does that. Our stories go round and round, the themes interweaving, the lessons being learned and relearned until we heal.
At first, I felt frustrated and angry. How was I supposed to know? Why don’t they say what they want? It’s not fair, I was just trying to be friendly and pass on happy information.
But then I remembered my old story. I felt the pain of my 7 year old self, being yelled at and ridiculed because I had told this terrible secret. I had caused great pain to the adults who had tried to protect their children and the children who did now know. I felt guilty and angry. I was wrong but I didn’t know any better, no one told me not to tell.
So now the adult, I went for a walk. I told both of the stories. I did ‘the work’*.
And the healing began.
Stories are meant to be told and secrets often cause pain. In both of my stories, everyone did their best. We are all innocents.
But the one thing I know is that in all cases, when we tell the story, we begin to heal.
And it doesn’t end there. It’s not just about healing.
The wonder and beauty of our stories is that as we tell them, we not only heal old wounds, we discover how our struggle is our greatest source of empowerment.
It is the learning that we gain through our healing stories that make us great. It is the telling of the struggle that lets us soar to greater heights.
Stories are meant to be told.
What stories have you told in order to heal?
What are the stories that empower your greatest self?
Welcome to the world of Story Coaching.
*‘the work’ of Byron Katie