I sat listening to a friend who has gone through what he undramatically called “the worst year of his life”, and then to another friend who had slipped into a deep depression. As their stories unfolded, it seemed that, by telling their story to others who genuinely cared, it helped lift their spirits.
Then I told my story. Although my life seems blessed at the moment, and I’m feeling really good, I’d been carrying around a hurt that I’d dismissed and hidden in some back compartment for at least a year. It wasn’t until I’d expressed it that it disappeared. I don’t know about you, but what I do when I don’t express my feelings is build them up, eventually creating an entire fantasy reality around an event that has a life of it’s own – hence, it’s ability to hang around for so long.
It could be anything: a perceived slight that I wouldn’t normally interpret that way except when I’m feeling overly sensitive for other reasons. That “slight”, fed only by these heightened sensitivities, will grow; and at some point, unless I address it, will register as something true and real, even though all it is, is my interpretation of something I left uninvestigated.
I’m not saying this is what happened with my friends. I can say it helped them to talk about it. Just as it helped me: it helped me revisit my story – to “right-size” it, bringing it back to something closer to what really happened so long ago, and disconnecting it from that moment of sensitivity.
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .