In my mom’s case dementia is a curse and a blessing. The curse is memory loss creates anxiety and its companion stress. The blessing is, wait a few minutes and she forgets what was making her nervous. Caring for her requires constantly monitoring your tone. Since childhood, Momma has consistently reminded me, “It’s not what you say Gayle Turner, it’s how you say it.” Never in my life has this been truer.
Tomorrow ends the first online Stories Matter! Workshop. Because I’m always saying we live into the stories we tell ourselves, Dan Schultheis, one of the participants, asked me to tell a story that I live into.
It Stops with Me is that story.
Reach out if you’d like to be a part of the May Workshop.
Remember: You Matter. Your Stories Matter. Tell Them Well!
The Storytellers Channel
It Stops With Me
Sam Marques, a buddy of mine, is married to my first wife. The Storytellers Channel is a direct result of a conversation with Sam. But another conversation with Sam has had a greater influence on my life. We were sitting around shooting the breeze one day when Sam said, “Only people who are hurting, hurt others.”
That describes my childhood. Someone would say something that hurt my feelings and I would say something mean in return and the situation would escalate. In the theatre we’re taught to make strong, dramatic choices. Long before I became an actor, I was extremely adept at raising the stakes in a conflict.
That day, Sam, said, “It stops with me. I am not going to respond to hurt with hurt. I’m going to break this vicious cycle.”
That one conversation, coupled with a few sessions of anger management counseling, changed my life.
Now, whenever someone says something that hurts my feelings; I work not to respond in kind. The story I tell myself is “The hurt stops with me.” This builds on one of what Jennifer Einolf calls Gayle’s Dad’s Parables, You’re responsible for your response.
I work to respond as follows:
1. I say, “That hurt.”
2. The I ask, “Did I do something to provoke that?”
3. And, if so, I apologize.
4. Then, whether I provoked the action or not, I define my boundary and make it clear to the person, “Don’t do that again.”
By following this simple process, I feel I’m doing my part to create a virtuous cycle. The hurt is stopping with me. And I’m making my dad proud as I control my behavior.
At least that’s one of the stories I tell myself.
I Want to Hear from You
I’d love to hear your stories.
Share with me stories that matter to you.
I’d love to hear stories of the stories you live into.
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Til next time,