I have known a few military veterans in my time. When I was a young man, I knew several WWII veterans who all seemed to have great stories, including my father. As I got older, I met several Vietnam veterans in my life’s travels and was always amazed at some of the tales they told and the hardships they endured. Lately, I have come to know a new set of people who have served their country and have different accounts to tell. The stress some of these young men have had to endure has been immeasurable.
Veterans of all ages have had their trials and tribulations but this new set of young men seem to face far greater challenges than the ones prior to them. While a lot of Vietnam era vets have dealt with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD for short), it would seem greater numbers of current military members have had severe problems with PTSD. When they arrive home, most can only sleep for an hour or two at night and deal with a whole host of other issues. Some of them refuse to take showers or leave their houses. Most would say their body is “home” but their “mind” is still overseas in places like Iraq or Afghanistan.
I use these examples and stories as an illustration because these are the experiences which are close to me and my sphere of influence. Most of us have stories. We all have them. They are ongoing and ever-changing dramas we tell ourselves to make sense of our lives. They can help us heal and powerfully guide us through life, or they can just as easily hold us back and cause intense emotional pain.
What are your stories?
If you are familiar with your own life’s patterns, you know it involves leaving your everyday life and answering the call to perform your daily duties and create stories of your own. Along the way, you may get help from others, you may complete your tasks or you may not. You may face adversity or be an example to yourself or to others. Some of these patterns can be mundane or some of them can be exciting. At any rate, it is a basic template for our day to day existence and there can be endless variations. Changing your patterns can be difficult however and there is but one key to telling the stories of your life.
How does telling your truth help heal the body and protect it from stress? Being honest with one’s self and others should be the primary motivator for making change in one’s life. It is said “our cells know the truth”. Our physiology responds to what we are thinking and what we are feeling. This includes what we do not want other people to know about us as well. When we are fearful to tell a story, we tend to keep it in and our cells broadcast a signal of danger. This causes the body to produce adrenaline, along with other stress hormones that connect with receptors in the heart, lungs, muscles and other parts of the body. This also includes the immune cells. Long term exposure to stress can cause all sorts of problems in these areas of your body. Stress produces increased heart rate, tense muscles, shortness of breath and overall lowers our immune system as a whole.
You may be asking yourself a question about the validity of this idea of “not being honest with yourself” and the strain it can put upon all of these systems. Is this really true? My answer would unequivocally be…YES! When we release our stories and feelings that torment us, our cells respond with great relief becoming bastions of safety for our body and our immune system.
We need to tell our stories no matter what the cost, even if we are facing life-threatening disease. It’s easy to block out a person’s story and deal with only factual information and not deal with the real story. However, personal history can tell us we might find more than we expect if we are truthful. One can find understanding, heal one’s self or build up personal relationships. This is common amongst all of humanity. Current issues a person is dealing with is a mere speck on an entire lifetime of a person’s existence. Agonizing over it for too long can become counterproductive. So what is the answer?
Telling your stories and truths may actually be the best medicine of all. It allows individuals to integrate back towards their true self when they release the power of their own truths. So many of us are tormented by the crazy idea that we are separate, disconnected beings, suffering alone. This is not true. While I don’t believe in the concept of “oneness”, I do believe human beings are all interconnected and we all share common threads with one another. We are here to learn from one another and more importantly, learn about ourselves. When you start telling your stories in a truthful manner you will find there are multitudes of individuals who will respond to your plight or problem. This does not mean you should use this as a tool to unload each of your life’s misfortunes on a person and complain to one another. But rather, use your personal accounts to learn from one another and share your life’s experience to those who are close to you.
Often times people use one another as a sounding board and we become inundated with negative thoughts and energy. This is not what I am getting at here. Complaining and story-telling are two different things altogether. Telling a story is a two way communication shared by two individuals or a group of people. Most often, there is an even exchange of information between these people. The stories themselves can be rejected, analyzed or processed for good, bad or indifference in regards to the information which is received.
It is up to you how you use it or tell it. Do so with an open mind and a compassionate heart.
Be the BEST YOU EVER!