I love listening to people talk about their life story. As a coach, hearing my clients’ stories is an important part of my work. Their histories often reveal what has shaped their lives today and also bring light to just how powerful, loving, and beautiful my clients really are. They may not be able to see it, but I sure can.
Gradually, this love of stories began to pull me into the idea of helping people honor their histories by writing them down, and I became certified as a guided autobiography (GAB) class instructor.
The beauty of the GAB program is that it takes the intimidation out of writing your life story with a process of writing just 2 pages at a time on provided themes. The stories are then shared within a safe group environment, which makes the process even more powerful.
As part of my training I wrote and shared my own life story, feeling the magic of the process for myself. It was fun, meaningful, and gave me perspective on my life experiences. But, most of all, I began to feel very proud of myself for who I was, all I have overcome, and who I am today.
There have been studies on the guided autobiography process I teach that all point to the benefits of writing and sharing your personal memoir as:
- increased self-acceptance
- decreased anxiety/tension
- increased energy/vigor
- increased positive view of others
- increased connectedness
These are a great start, but, I have seen so many more. Writing your life story will:
Stimulate your brain, memory and creativity
Immersing yourself in a writing process that involves using your memory can get the sometimes neglected parts of your brain active again. During my process I had forgotten memories popping up throughout my days, bringing a smile to my face.
It’s the same with creativity. For many of us that creative part of our mind has been shut down as we busily navigate our day to day lives. Awakening it can be a blessing.
Increase self-awareness and acceptance
Writing our stories allows us to see them, and ourselves from a new perspective. We are more experienced and wiser now. It is easier to feel compassion for our younger selves who were often hurting and doing the best they could. We can bear witness to our weaknesses and our strengths and love our inner children who were confused and hurting. And then, we can see that it is all part of our journey to becoming our best selves.
Reconnect you with your true self
Our lives come in many phases and some of them take us outside of ourselves. We become so busy being a wife, mother, or playing another role that we can’t remember who we were before those roles came along. If you have reached a milestone age, experienced a major life change, or just can’t remember who you really are, it is important to take some time to re-establish that connection and embrace your heart’s desires.
Help you heal your history
This process is not therapy, but it can be therapeutic. Often, after writing about a past painful experience we can feel some of the energy lingering around it slip away. We may also realize how the people who hurt us came to be who they were or how circumstances led to certain events. This can lead to compassion and understanding, a path that can help us finally unwind the tightness inside we have been holding on to.
Ground you after a life quake
Divorce, illness, experiencing an empty nest, or losing a loved one are life quakes that can throw you off balance. When experiencing a life quake like these, writing your life story can help you feel more grounded and remember where you have been, so that where you want to go next becomes more clear.
Uncover special hidden moments
There is something about human nature that sets us up to focus on the negative. This can be especially true if something traumatic happened in your past that over shadowed everything else. One of the gifts of writing your memoir is having the fun memories that were hidden come forward. I remembered twirling in a red dress, sliding down a Slip ‘n Slide, and special moments with my step grandpa who taught me what love really is.
Support family bonding
Many people write their life stories to share with their family or leave as a legacy. These memoirs can create special bonding moments or become documents that are shared for generations to come. Studies show that families with a shared family story usually feel more bonded and loyal to each other. Perhaps your story will inspire a future family member or bring the people you love closer together.
My memoir writing workshops include time for sharing your stories with others in the group. This enhances the above benefits and creates even more. Sharing your life story:
- Helps you feel more positive about yourself as you receive acknowledgement and support
- Expands your view of others and helps you feel more connected
- Develops a sense of closeness, friendship, and community within the group you are in
So, I encourage you to get started writing your story. Let go of any self-judgement and just get started. I feel sure with all of these benefits you will be glad you did.
If you would like individual support or to join an online or in person guided autobiography class, contact me to learn more. I would love to support you.
In person workshops are also available to groups and organizations in the Columbia, MO area.