by Petra Juhászová (United Kingdom)
From the beginning of times people told stories to each other. These stories weren’t only for pure entertainment but often carried a moral lesson. Storytelling is a unique human skill. We use it not just in relation to others, but also with ourselves. We tell ourselves stories about what we should be doing, what we should have by now, what our life should look like, why we are behaving the way we behave, how we should feel…etc.
We often start telling these kinds of stories when the emotion we experience we don’t want to fully face for some reason – it might be too heavy for us or it triggers us. Therefore, instead of experiencing the difficult emotion, we decide to take the route more comfortable for us. For example, when we start feeling grief, we might get angry, as it is easier to be angry, than to feel grief. Sarah Peyton, a neuroscience educator, explains this wonderfully in her book ‘The Resonant Self’.
Talking of which, neuroscience proved that our body actually relaxes when the difficult emotion is recognized and named. We would think that it doesn’t help. On the contrary. It allows something to be seen in daylight, rather than keeping it in the dark. Once seen, we can choose the appropriate approach.
We can’t heal, anything until we don’t know what it is that we are facing. In order to heal our pain, we need to feel it. But feeling something painful isn’t easy.
Our Needs in Difficulties
In the moment of difficulties, we want to experience safety. We want the following needs of ours to be met (either all of them or just some):
To be heard
To be seen
To be connected