We all have shame. We all have secrets. We all have stories. Sometimes those stories remain secrets our whole lives and shame eats away at us.
In the lead up to the release of my book, Amazing Grace I asked some friends to share a ‘confession’. Something secret.
I noticed that when we cling to our secret stories we learn to inflict even more pain on ourselves.
If we’re feeling fat and we’re bullied, we eat and purge and starve and make our bodies suffer, until we are the only ones who can inflict pain on ourselves.
When violence is inflicted on us we learn to disassociate and let blows rain down on us. The blows destroy our bodies, but our souls are already deadened so we don’t do anything to protect ourselves.
Silent suffering secretly slices away at our core. The core is who we’re meant to be. The core is the life we’re meant to be living.
We all have chapters in our past that have caused us to suffer. We may, or may not, have confessed them to others. But should our secret stories of shame steal our futures?
On a recent Typically Hazardous podcast Hank Fortener said:
‘Live a life of future regret. Don’t live your life regretting the past. Imagine the chapters you want in your future. Write them out. What is going to be in those chapters?
‘Ask yourself, “Will I regret not doing that thing I’ve been dreaming of?”’
I write books, and every time I finish one, I already have the next one started. The book is mapped out and the first few chapters are drafted.
When I start writing, I often don’t know where the story will actually end, but I do know the outline, the important plot points, the characters, the settings. The chapters.
If I apply this to my life, my life story should be driven by the decision to write chapters for my life. Chapters that get me out of regretting the past and into crafting my future.
If your past has been eating disorder, then your future should have a chapter called My Healthy Body.
If your past has been abuse, then your future should have a chapter titled My Healthy Relationship.
If your past has been full of loss, then there should be a chapter titled Restoration.
If your past has been marked by failure, then there should be a chapter on Success.
When we bring our secret stories into the light of confession, we take away their power to confine us in past regret.
What are the titles of your future chapters?
What will you regret it if you don’t do that thing you’ve been dreaming of?
Live in future regret. Write a new chapter.