Sometimes, difficult memories can feel like we’re living with an elephant in the room. It can be very hard to lead that elephant out, and so we might do our best to ignore him. But that big ol’ elephant is stinky and takes up a lot of space. There’s no room for anyone to get close while he’s around. He may keep us awake at night, or make us feel small. No one wants him around, yet he remains. We’ll call him shame.
Until we talk about it, nothing will change, and we will be stuck in the room with him. It’s only by opening up and talking about the hard stuff that we can clear the air.
By sharing the secrets that keep us isolated, we’re able to transform our experiences, learning to view them through a different lens. When we tell ourselves the same narrative repeatedly, nothing changes. By sharing with others, the story changes, allowing us to move forward.
This week I’m awed by the courage shown by Landing Strong group members as they address the elephant, opening the door so that he might be nudged out of the room. The result… a closely connected group of warriors, united by trust and respect, learning that maybe they aren’t so alone after all.
The thing is, most of us know what it’s like to live with an elephant. And it takes a group of strong people, working together, to clear our lives of things that don’t belong there anymore.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong