We tell ourselves the stories that make sense to us: that justify the situations we are in and the challenges we face. The stories we tell serve the purpose of making meaning out of difficult times, justifying the reasons things might not be going well. Stories serve an important function in helping us understand who we are, and in defining our identities.
Too often our stories of ourselves as “victims”, “bad people”, “weaklings”, “criminals” or “failures” become so strong, that our values, goals, strengths, intelligence, resilience and character can become hidden or forgotten. Sometimes, the stories that we tell lose their usefulness over time, and we find ourselves struggling to see our own strengths after months, years, or decades of only seeing our faults.
If you find yourself struggling, and telling yourself things like “I’m a horrible mother”, “I’m a delinquent”, “I’m a failure”, “my relationship will never succeed”, “I’ve failed at becoming a successful person”, “no one could see me as lovable”, it’s important to realize that stories are just that: stories. Don’t let them take on the power to destroy you, or take your ability to enjoy your life the way you want.
Human beings can change. And what’s more, with the help and guidance of a therapist, you can build the world that you want, even with the spectre of trauma, depression or loss convincing you that you can’t. Re-discovering/re-building the values, goals and beliefs that give you energy in life might be the most rejuvenating experience that one can have.
Kara Wahlin is a postmodern marriage and family therapist in private practice located in the Coachella Valley of Southern California. Kara provides person-centered therapeutic services, specializing in working with new moms, families, adolescents, children, and individuals/families learning how to cope with trauma and its effects. Please call for a free 30-minute consultation. Now accepting IEHP!
All images and artwork are the personal creations of Kara Wahlin MFT © 2013