A comment following a recent Facebook post I made, asked the question “What will be your new ending?” I’m not sure if the question was rhetorical or not? Anyway, decided to give a longer answer here, as on reflection various thoughts came to me. My status was commenting on a Brene Brown blog post
“When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”
This reminds me of something Carl Rogers wrote that I have seen occur in so many people and clients lives:
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
For me the two quotes blend or merge together in truth. When we deny things about ourselves, is it not the same as not accepting ourselves, as to who we currently are or where we are?
Accepting and owning our stories is often painful, as well as, initially shaming. How can we admit those things (that happened to us, that we did or still do, that we thought, felt or feel now) to ourselves, let alone anyone else? Yet, if we don’t as Brene Brown writes they will still “define us”. Anger will shape us, the addiction will swap us, the racism, the homophobia will shape our worldview.
Once we acknowledge we are an angry person, that we have an addictive personality, that we are racist, homophobic, look down on others who are different from us, or share any other not so nice quality, we can change. Such acceptance will bring shame. It will be painful to admit such to ourselves. Once we do so there is an inner freedom that comes – a release from the shame that debilitates us and prevents from real change. Underlying this acceptance and facing the shame is a willingness to be vulnerable.
However, such self confession, I believe, does not mean we are a bad or unworthy person. Are we not all filled with mistakes from our past, in our present and will yet make in our future? As we recognise, in our hearts, in our being, not just in our head and mind, that we are not bad, that yes, we may have done something not so good, the shame begins to diminish. Something happens inside us, that allows us to move through the shame and onwards towards change, to a new ending.
It is not so much about being faultless. Can we ever be? Is it not rather about our becoming, our changing, so we can “write a brave new ending” – whatever that ending will be?
Your ending will not be the same as my ending. Our endings may intersect, but we each will have our own ending.
Though, I wonder a little at describing this change as a “new ending“, brave or otherwise. Can we ever know our ending? I’d personally rewrite Beren’s sentence as:
“When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new beginning.”