The nightstand in my room is stacked with therapy and psychology books. These books are mostly written by therapists I admire who have spent a great deal of their career studying the reasons why people come to therapy. Books by people like Brené Brown, whose research has focused on shame. It was through my interest in Brené's work that I stumbled upon author Glennon Doyle Melton. Glennon is not a therapist, but rather a woman who has chosen to share her on-going journey through shame, guilt, love, marriage and parenthood with the rest of us who might be struggling to come to terms with our own stories. Research is wonderful for promoting and facilitating our understanding of the world, but artists, like Glennon, deepen our understanding of the human condition in a way that is hard to quantify. Glennon's work reconnected me with the rawness and beauty of my own humanness, and reminded me of why I love the work I do. If you haven't been introduced to her work yet, I invite you to check it out and see if it resonates with you.
Glennon's most recent book, Love Warrior, is a memoir of her life thus far. She details her struggles with self-esteem, an eating disorder and alcohol abuse. She shares with us the joys and pains of becoming a mother, as well as the heartbreak, resilience, love and truth she finds when her husband reveals a history of infidelity. Her storytelling breaks through shame and faces fear head on. She delivers her story in a way that honors the unique truth within herself and and her husband, as well as the truth of the love and pain within their relationship.
Glennon shows us that storytelling can be a therapeutic art. In therapy, space to tell our stories and to heal our shame is offered. It is during this telling that we discover our preferred ways of being as individuals, families and couples. We identify the healing techniques we're using that are working, as well as those that are not. We discover new tools that connect and strengthen us. We empower ourselves to make choices about how we want to live and love in our lives.
The American Heritage dictionary third edition defines therapeutic as "having healing or curative powers." What heals you? In what ways are you already healing your relationship? Yourself?
Glennon's public telling of her story invites us each to find the healing power of telling our own story. The invitation is always open for us to find our path. What will be your path towards healing?
* You can listen to a recent interview with her on the Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields here.
-Kori Hennessy, MA