Cleaning Up Your Backst*ry: "When is 'healed enough'?"

I smiled as I read her email, imagining her pumping pompoms in the air as she cheered my “Words Matter…So Don’t Splatter…” blog, and reflected on how she’s been focused on healing the backst*ry instead of writing.
 
And then came her very important question: 
 

When is healed enough?

 
Over the last ten years of working with messengers, I have witnessed this healing journey unfold again and again, and here’s what I’ve come to regard as two good markers of this milestone. 
 

You’ll know your backst*ry is “healed enough” to share it with minimal mess when you can

1. …tell the story without feeling the intense ache of sadness in your chest, the flush of rage under the surface of your skin, the cramp of panic in your stomach, or the emotional response that you’ve had to that story for so long. It takes a while, but eventually, when you’ve interacted with the story long enough and started to see it from all angles—with the intention to understand and heal it—there will come a day when something that would have triggered the hell out of you passes through your territory instead of knocking your entire structure down. 
 
2. …and see all of the characters in your story as both villains and heroes. If you really interact with your story and all of its characters—with the intention to understand them and heal yourself—you will eventually see those characters as whole people. Not just villains. Not just heroes. But humans—with their own backst*ries and their own desperate attempts to figure this crazy life out. People who look and probably feel a lot like you. This realization changes the game, and you can’t just tell yourself this—you gotta see, feel, and experience it.
 
But I think the more important question here is: 
 

How do we get to that point?”

or

How do we clean up that backst*ry?”

 
Here are some of my best tips:
 
1. Write it raw. Don’t wait to feel better to start writing. Writing is often THE PATH to healing, not the thing you do once you’re healed. Tell the truth. Don’t self-edit. Pretend no one will ever see the document. Be as ugly as you need to be. Let all those parts of you, with all of their truest feelings and thoughts, splatter all over the page. Get them out of your body. Let this be the first draft that no one will ever see. Whew, you shoulda seen what hit the page in that initial blog I wrote. Yikes! 
 
2. Share it with someone capable of witnessing your truth, without reacting or fixing, and tell them the exact type of feedback you needYou might need someone to simply listen and witness your story; or if you have a lot of trust, you might ask them to help you understand the plot line or characters more honestly. Whatever you do, give that person very specific guidelines for feedback in order to create and preserve the safety you need to do this work. I sent my first draft of that blog last week—edited—to a sista friend who I regularly ask to help me separate fact from fiction and find the icky stickies in my writing. Over time, we’ve worked out how to give and receive feedback, and her simple, This part made me feel [vomit sound], is usually enough to show me where I still have work to do. Sometimes, if I need more help digging for the st*ry, I’ll ask her for a phone call to verbally process through it. 
 
3. Get additional support from people with the skillset you need. It might be a psychologist, a coach, a masseuse, a physical trainer, or an energy therapist. In addition to regular Innerlight sessions, I work with another energy therapist who helps me to dig for deeper patterns in my story and release them. There are tons of modalities. My suggestion is that you use the ones you’ve got and pay attention for any new ones The Wind is swirling into your world.
 
4. Take responsibility for your healing and your part in the st*ry. No one else can do this for us. And…as hard as it is, it’s easier when we open to the possibility that we may have played some part in either the initial story or its content development over time. For me, this is where the possibility of a new story emerges—where we have responsibility, we have power to change our mind, our feelings, our behaviors…and our whole story.
 
5. Write a better story with intentionWhen we look at the pile of st*ry, really inspect it for where the initially-decent plot twisted and turned, and see how the patterns have re-remerged in our st*ryline over time, we can identify the scripts and behaviors that are holding that st*ry in place…and then we can change them. Write better scripts. Adjust our behavior to achieve our true intention.
 
Bonus. 
Get real about being a messy human, and don’t wait ’til you’re completely cleaned up to start sharing your st*ryWhile it is incredibly important and wise to clean up your backst*ry [for your own conscience’s sake, for the sake of your audience, and for the sake of your brand’s impact and longevity], it’s equally important to have realistic expectations. The chances of you healing and cleaning up the entire mess before doing all the work you want to do is…well, not realistic. If you get to the point where you’re not physically affected by the st*ry anymore, and you’ve seen the characters as the villains and heroes they are, then it’s time to put the message out there and trust that you can handle any unexpected splatters with truth and love.
 
Cheers to cleaning up those backst*ries, before they splatter all over those we love and are trying to serve!
 
What do you think?
I’d LOVE to hear back from you
– Do you feel overly messy or measured with your words?
– What backst*ry keeps you feeling messy?
 

If you’re looking for some real support with your backst*ry,
check out the Break Through Your Story Ceiling Workshop

 
Click HERE for details

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