Action 61

I maintain a set of “shatterproof beliefs” or a “moral compass and values” that helps me “move on.” I choose to associate with folks who share my positive life-affirming values (See Action #99 for examples of ways to maintain a “moral compass” to guide you).

Useful Information

Trauma has been called the “atom smasher” of one’s belief and assumptive world. Trauma can create a rupture in a person’s life story. Only through telling new stories are we able to rebuild our sense of self. Through storytelling people begin to comprehend what has happened and begin to understand its significance. By taking control of the stories they tell others and themselves, the way they re-author their stories, they can move toward recovery, resilience and personal growth. Transformations arise through the stories they tell.

“Human beings are story tellers. It is human nature to make meaning of our lives by organizing what happens to us into stories. We live our stories as if they were true. We tell stories to understand what happens to us and to provide us with a framework to shape our new experiences. We are immersed in stories throughout our lives. Our stories help us to construct self-understanding. They help us bind together our thoughts, feelings and behaviors in a way that is continuous with our view of ourselves and our past history”

—Stephen Joseph, 2011

Quotable Quotes

“I now recognize that my memory does not fade. It grows. My memory is malleable and not like a videotape. I have learned that I can manage my memory and thoughts and not have them manage me.”

“I want this trauma to lose its gripping quality. I know the memory, the hurt won’t go away, but I want to someday become bored with its retelling. I now have a new story to tell—one of survival and purpose.”

“I know that the words I use in the stories I tell have power to change my emotions and behavior. My words carry meaning and perspective. My words can inspire and give hope.”

“This trauma experience taught me that if this ordeal does not break me, nothing will. After this experience, I fear nothing. Yet, I have also seen how fragile a human being can be, and it made me sensitive to both others’ suffering and our own vulnerability.”

Action 62