My best friend taught me a lot about the power of narrative, that the stories we tell about ourselves and our lives are more important than what may or may not have happened. We create reality. In our story we can become the hero who saved herself instead of the victim who felt alone and isolated. There is a deep power in what we tell ourselves is true.
The stories we allow others to tell us, and tell about us, also weighs heavy. Parents know this. We tell our children everything is okay, even as we pick up the phone to dial for help. We tell them stories of hope and strength because we want for them a life filled with these things. When we begin consciously storying our own lives, we start weaving the hope and strength back into our tapestry. At times though, we need someone else to tell us it’s going to be okay.
My ex does this for me. She still has a way of saying “it’s all gonna be all right girl” in a voice that exudes confidence and I believe her. I can feel my heart lighten as soon as I hear the words from her lips. She has a calming presence and a belief that I will be okay. She believes in me in a way most people never believe in anything. I carry this with me still because of the stories I chose to tell about our relationship, our breakup, and our friendship. We have a friendship because we told a story of transformation, love, and connection despite heart break and difficulty. So when she tells me, “it’s gonna be okay baby-girl,” I believe her.
This doesn’t mean I don’t still worry. The ease I feel is on the emotional level, which is exactly where I need the help. The story I get from my ex feeds my emotional need to be held in a moment of safety and love. Intellectually, the concerns and fears are all still there. They will be until I can write a story that puts the fear to rest. There is no story-teller for your life more powerful than you.
Recently I’ve discovered another story-teller for my heart. The unlikely sister has a way of feeding my heart with the stories I either did not receive as a child (I suspect) or have somehow forgotten fully along the way. She tells me I am brave. She says she admires me. She says I am loving and lovable. She says I am family. She affirms me and puts into words her love for me and her desire to be closely connected with me. This feeds one of the most wounded parts of myself and helps me step closer to being able to finally write a powerful narrative that will fill this place in my heart, this gap, where only doubt has lived.
My best friend also tells me stories that help me step forward into the Light. I hear from her that I can do it, that I’ve got what it takes, and she helps me strategize when I’m overwhelmed. The most powerful thing she does for me though is model this belief about the power of being the narrator of our lives.
As I sit here thinking about all the blessings I have in these three friends who weave together stories of hope and strength for me whenever I can’t quite reach it on my own, I wonder what kind of story-teller I am to the people I love? I pray Spirit will bless my voice and words with ease, confidence, and love for these friends and truly all the people I talk to.