I’ve been on a journey the last few days. My daughter reminded me from a psychology book she’s been reading that 80% of physical ailments have a significant emotional component. I’ve been trying lots of different vitamins and therapies to reduce the inflammation (arthritis like) in my left fingers. With that reminder, I looked up arthritis/fingers in 2 different books that I have: “Feelings Buried Alive Never Die” and “The Secret Language of Your Body.” One of the emotional contributors listed was, “Holding on to anger, shame, or resentment from childhood.” There were others as well, but as I muscle-tested myself on which one was the priority issue for me, that’s the one that stood out. But truthfully, I consider myself blessed with a wonderful childhood so I had a hard time connecting to anything to work with.
Later the same day, I ran across a “homework assignment” that I use with clients that I haven’t done myself, so I decided to do it. It’s called, “write your own short story,” and is an exercise in which you write about a time in your life from a 3rd person view (someone else telling the story). Here’s what came out of my fingers on onto the keyboard on my computer:
“Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved all things. She was bright, cheerful, and excited to live every day. She felt loved and protected by her family and knew that she was cared for. But she also learned that life is painful. Chronic ear infections plagued her sense of peace and security. The pain was unbearable at times. Her hearing began to slip away without her (or her loved ones) even noticing until she couldn’t fit nicely into her world anymore. Something had to be done. Fitted with a hearing aid, she felt disconnected from all others, knowing that she was different and physically incapable of being like the others. She compensated well, having already learned lip-reading and the hearing aid helped in so many ways, so that she could appear normal (her new goal in life).
With time, the ear infections dwindled, but she now knew that pain was a reality of life. She continued with her goal of appearing normal, even better than normal—trying to be the very best at the things she could excel at (and avoiding the things she didn’t know she could excel at or even enjoy). She always, always wore her hair down (to hide the hearing aid) and worried when she had to wear her hair up for sports. But no one seemed to notice. A boy complimented her once (age 16 or 17) and said she should wear her hair up more, but she felt embarrassed and insecure that he noticed, and that a style change meant exposing her vulnerability (difference/weakness). And did that mean her hair didn’t look nice down? Those insecurities plagued her into adulthood but with them also came a gift. Because of needing to lip read, she learned to focus, really focus on the person speaking. She became an excellent listener. She also learned compassion for others and their struggles. In time, the insecurities weakened and the gifts strengthened, and she became a girl who is bright, cheerful and excited to live every day…again.”
This was a powerful exercise for me. I’ve lived with the hearing loss for 40 years now and don’t think about it much any more…it’s just a part of life. I didn’t remember the level of shame and pain that accompanied that time in my life. But my fingers remember! But today they are feeling better; I’m experiencing less pain and stiffness than yesterday.
If you’d like to write your own story and share it here, I’d love to hear it. Thanks for reading mine!
Infinite love and gratitude,