Embracing Your Story | The First Step in Finding Authenticity & Adventure

family individual Oct 04, 2019

So here’s a topic we’re pretty passionate about: embracing your story. In all of the individuals, couples and families that we’ve worked with, we find that people tend to run from their story more so than turning around to embrace it. They often believe that the path to happiness is on a completely different road than the one they are currently traveling. Whether it’s a new relationship, a new career, a new location, a new group of friends...the grass often looks greener somewhere else and people are more than willing to move yards and move on while letting their current life turn brown and wither away. 

Here’s the thing: we were all meant to walk the path that we are on. Lessons have been learned on this path. Relationships were built. Anxieties were overcome. Bridges were burned. Fears were realized. Dreams were realized. Embarrassments happened. Shame was felt. Disappointment was dealt with. Experience, wisdom, and humility were developed. One of the most important lessons that we teach in our Science of Trauma classes is that if you run from the trauma you experience, trying to shove it down, compartmentalize it, tuck it away, it will constantly chase you. The same can be said for life in general. We all want to find our authentic self. The first step in accomplishing that is to realize that you’ve been your authentic self all along.

That teenager you were in high school, the one who was walking through the halls all awkward just trying to fit in and find someone to eat with in the cafeteria...that person, as anxious, self-conscious and easily-influenced as you were, that is your authentic self.

That child you were who may have gone through hell when you were little, living in a broken home and just trying to be good so your parents would love you...that person, as scared, broken and living-to-please as you were, that is your authentic self.

The person you are now, the one who is trying to survive every day as a busy mother, hanging on to a marriage by a thin thread, trying to be everything and more to your children EVERY. SINGLE. DAY...that person, as frantic, fake, and unhappy as you sometimes find yourself to be, SHE is your authentic self.

We should not run from who we are. We should embrace every single trauma, challenge, emotion and embarrassing situation in which we have found ourselves as the guideposts to the authentic selves we already are. Some of us have been through more trauma than others. Some of us have been handed a fantastic life and can’t, for the life of us, figure out why we’re not truly happy. Either situation warrants an in-depth look at where your road has taken you and where else wonderful it could possibly lead.

You’re on a Hero’s Journey…

Joseph Campbell is an author who has written about “The Hero’s Journey.” If you’re not familiar, check out this 4-minute Ted Talk for a quick overview. His basic premise is that every culture in the world depicts their version of “heroes” walking a very similar cycle: a call to adventure, finding a mentor, going through trial and failure, experiencing growth, experiencing death and rebirth, finding a revelation, atonement for faults, receiving a gift, and then returning home a changed person. 

Here’s our premise. We believe that every one of us is on our own Hero’s Journey. That we are all put on this earth with a given purpose and passion. The trials that we walk along the journey to find that purpose are what shape us into the person who will be ready to embrace that purpose once it makes itself clear. The trauma that you’ve experienced is a part of that. The anxiety that you experience is a part of that. The desire to measure up that you battle with on a daily basis is a part of that.

If we were to sum it up, our clients tend to get stuck in two areas: 

  1. Some individuals never really paid attention to the call to adventure in the first place. They don’t know their passion and purpose in life. They probably would never consider themselves to even be on a hero’s journey...or much of a journey at all, really. These individuals live in a reactive mode on a daily basis and let life control them rather than taking control themselves and going after what sets their soul on fire. Life is pretty safe, but it also lacks purpose.

  2. Other individuals may have felt a call to adventure at one point but have faced so many trials and failures in their lives that they’ve pretty much given up. Trauma, life circumstances, failed marriages, failed careers, drugs, alcohol abuse, difficulty with children...all of the big “T’s” (traumas)...have made them stuck and they really have no idea where to go from here. They can’t see the forest for the trees and the thought of pushing through this phase to a better life on the other side is really unfathomable.


So what do you do with this?

Well, here’s a start. We’ve made a sheet for you to spend 15 minutes or so writing, drawing, outlining (whatever sounds inspiring) your story. Don’t back away from the hard stuff. It’s your choice when you’re finished if you want to share it or burn it! For this exercise, let your mind wander and write down key words or draw quick sketches of the things that come to you that stand out in your life. When 15 minutes are up, look over your page and write down 3 three sentences about who you are now and 3 things that set your soul on fire. THIS is your story. THIS is your authentic self. And embracing that will help guide you in the direction of your purpose. 

We encourage you to share this with someone that you love and trust. As always, it’s totally up to you whether or not you feel comfortable doing so. But we believe in the process of peer support. Sharing this with a trusted friend could help you to gain perspective and allow yourself to see the good in your story in order to find the great. Think about it!

Click here to download the Embracing Your Story PDF!