When I was in college, I had to do a supervised teaching semester in a kindergarten school. I went to meet the teachers and the school.
As soon as I returned home, I was informed by the dean of education, that they didn't want me to teach there.
He said It was because of my speech.
I was deeply hurt. This came out of nowhere.
I was sent to see the speech and hearing clinic at the university, and found out that I had a hearing loss, and because of that I had a lisp.
I had no idea.
Later, when I first started teaching, I was hurt by another teacher.
She reported me to the superintendent, saying I shouldn't be teaching because of my speech.
It was a horrible time. I almost quit teaching. I went into a severe depression. I didn't know who to trust on the staff, as she told many other teachers.
For many years I told these grievance stories, over and over. I struggled to let go of the hurt and pain. I was so angry. One night, many years later, in a drunk stupor, I called the teacher who reported me to the superintendent, and raged at her.
These are but a few of my grievance stories. Stories where I have been hurt, but struggle to let them go, to learn from them, but not carry them. I first heard of the term grievance story from a book called Forgive For Good, by Dr. Fred Luskin. Here is an excerpt from an interview he gave on Virtues for Life:
"A grievance is created when we take a normal life event that is painful, make it very personal as opposed to something that just happened, and then exaggerate how personal it is. Then we practice this pattern over and over, and forget that there are other ways of looking at the same situation."
When I was drinking, my grievance stories were about how horrible work was, and about how everyone had wronged me. They were magnified by the alcohol. I would sit for hours with my drinking buddy discussing everything that I was resentful about.
Now, you can't rush the healing from these real hurts.
In order for someone to forgive, "They have to have done some grief work about their loss or wound. They have to have done some grieving of it, which means that they have felt the pain and acknowledged their loss. Also, that they’ve looked at how they handled things and said, “Could I have handled it better?” So a lot of inner exploration and again going through these stages of grief. Then when these stages have been explored, you can look at letting it go. So you can’t forgive too early before you’ve had a chance to grieve the loss. That’s the biggest obstacle that people run into.
Now, one of my biggest grievance stories is about how I was hurt by being left out, or not being included.
My other one is being angry at my body for making me deaf, and the loss of hearing music.
I really do have a choice. I can continue making myself feel bad, or I can change my story.
In terms of feeling left out, or feeling hurt, I can choose to see that in most cases, nobody tried to hurt me on purpose. If I reach out to people, I feel strong and happy, rather than wait to be invited some place.
I can choose to forgive my body for making me deaf.
I have had to grieve the loss of music. (A cochlear implant changes music and makes it sound very strange, and unpleasant.)
Now, I am telling people how lucky I was to be able to have insurance to cover a cochlear implant, so I can hear speech.
I am telling myself and other people how happy I am I can hear birds, and hear people talking! I can hear speech on the radio now, too!
Real life takes work. I just don't want to sit around moping about all the hurts I had past and present.
By taking drinking out of the equation, I have been able to heal and let go of the resentments much faster. But I still have a ways to go.
In college, the dean found me another school to do my supervised teaching of kindergarten, and the teacher there was warm, loving, and I thrived.In the case of the teacher complaining about me, the district office put me in a different elementary school, and there I also thrived.
Being grateful for all that I have, and remembering I can grieve, and then move on, helps me change my stories from a poor me Wendy, to a strong Wendy!
With A Sunny Walk,
On Day 1,044