The truth is, we all face hardships of some kind, and you never know the struggles a person is going through. Behind every smile, there’s a story of a personal struggle. Adrienne C. Moore

Life is what we make it. Last night as I got in my truck after going to the gym I heard the radio personality say, “The doctor told me I had cancer yesterday.” It turns out he was reading from his writings on having cancer.”

He was angry when he learned he had cancer, but he realized quickly what would all that anger do? His challenge was to eliminate anger and negativity, that was five years ago. Today he has a clean bill of health.

I’m looking at an article written by Bonnie Annis Finding Gratitude and Other Lessons Learned from Cancer. She says cancer teaches lessons we never dreamed we needed to learn.

Gratitude seems to be one of the big lessons that survivors learn. They learn to be grateful it wasn’t worse. It’s a lesson we can all learn, whatever if we survive it, could have been worse.

Bonnie Annis says she learned she had a choice about how to live each day. She could choose gratitude and joy or she could choose anger and bitterness. She could go forward or she could give up. It is the hardest, most challenging and difficult thing she experienced in her life.

She says with all its ugliness there are lessons to learn, lessons we might learn no other way.

I am grateful for the willingness of people to bare their soul when they go through the worst life has to offer them. They learn lessons and in telling their story we learn lessons.

Nobody is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories. George R.R. Martin

Everyone has a story, everyone has learned lessons. The more we talk, write and listen to other peoples stories the more we learn. We are told that telling our story has a physical effect on our body, toxic stress hormones are turned off, our body’s repair mechanisms are turned on.

My husband says to me sometimes. What do you find to talk about? He means when I attend the book club, the book takes up fifteen minutes and we talk until the coffee shop or restaurant closes. We are telling each other our stories. We are making sense of the hand we’ve been dealt, the choices we have. In good times and bad we support each other. We can celebrate achievements, and talk about what has brought us to our knees.

Not everyone who has joined our group is comfortable with it. That is okay, I do think everyone would be better off telling their story, but it’s a personal decision. When we listen to other peoples stories we are tempted to tell our own. Each person must find their own comfort level.

The more we keep bottled up inside the harder it can be to learn the lessons and heal. We may not always be comfortable hearing someone’s story, the anger, vitriol, and condemnation springing forth may feel like blame, condemnation, and judgment. If we can listen, they can get it out and maybe they’ll be able to process it and move onto a better place.

We’ve hurt people in our lives we didn’t mean to hurt. We’ve been hurt in our lives by people who didn’t mean to hurt us. When people can tell their story without judgment, they can heal. If we can tell our story without judgment we can heal.

The stories in our families where we are hurt the most, where we are judged the most maybe some of the most important and hardest stories to tell. We can’t believe what we hear, but if we will hear it, healing can begin.

The stories we tell about ourselves are the key to our wellbeing. Joseph Campbell tells us, “Where you stumble is where your treasure lies.”

We all have a story to tell. Are you telling yours?

You don’t just have a story – you’re a story in the making, and you never know what the next chapter’s going to be. That’s what makes it exciting. Dan Millman

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The Story You Need to Tell: Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss Paperback – May 26 2017

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