Meaningful Words – How Your Story Can Change Lives
Inspired by a Darby Project perspective on social fitness
Your intentional and meaningful words expressed in a story have the potential to change your life and the lives of others. GallantFew’s Darby Project points to a great article in the December issue of AUSA magazine about sharing your PTS story. The article, Words Matter: Telling Your Story An Alternative To Medication For PTSD, is written by Diana Clark Gill. Darby Project suggests we make our own edit and add other categories because not every Veteran struggles with PTS and we believe the label prevents Veterans from speaking out (Darby Project’s original post here).
The Veteran community hesitates with reaching out for help and struggles with sharing personal stories. Often, throughout careers of military service, failures are highlighted and verbal positive reinforcement is few and far in between. This course of action leaves the lasting impression that if you aren’t first, you are last.
How Telling Your Story Can Change Your Life
- According to mental health practitioners telling your story allows the brain to make new connections to that memory
- You are the master of telling your story. You choose how, when and where.
- Sharing your story lightens the load of a traumatic memory
- Enhances your social network
How Telling Your Story Can Change The Lives Of Others
- Your story reinforces to others they are not alone
- You give confidence to others to share their story
- You enable others to connect with you in a personal way
- Enhances your their social network
If you are looking for programs or information on how to best share your story you can search online for local Veterans’ writing groups or call your local VA center to ask about narrative therapy. Remember that you can also tell your story through the powerful medium of music. Did you know that the profession of music therapy is rooted in service to America’s service members and Veterans? According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) the profession’s roots go back to World War II. Interested in learning more about music therapy as a means to tell your story. The AMTA has a great white paper and list of music therapists.
Being committed to social fitness is one way to enhance your life and create balance. A strong local social network is critical to feeling part of the community and connected to others. Telling and sharing your story is one way to find that local connection. Too often Veterans retreat behind online social media platforms and limit interpersonal exchanges to members of their families or other close friends or in a place where the focus is on alcohol consumption. There are hundreds of opportunities, in most communities, to get connected and socialize (and that helps develop professional network). Rotary clubs, Kiwanis, Chambers of Commerce are all great ways to meet new people, have fun and find new opportunities. Remember that isolation is the number one factor in Veteran issues and although meeting new people can be off-putting or intimidating to some, the structured format of a Chamber of Commerce social or Rotary club breakfast makes it a safe way to meet new people and make new friends.
GallantFew and Darby Project are committed to social fitness. Too many Veterans let life happen by accident. The only person who accidentally made his way to the top was Forrest Gump and that’s fiction.
GallantFew Functional Fitness (GFIT)
Throughout the year we focus on various aspects of the GallantFew STAR and showcase how our programs and services layer into GallantFew Functional Fitness (GFIT).
GallantFew can help you identify where you are holding yourself back and help you become intentional in each of the five points of the STAR: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Professional and Social. To learn more visit our GallantFew Functional Fitness page.
Connecting with a GallantFew Guide is critical in helping a veteran make that transition and get connected to that local social network. Guide or not, make it a goal to meet one new person every week! If you are struggling, know that you are NOT alone. If you find yourself lost in social media, comparing your life to others, break away from it. Reach out to someone LOCAL and start talking! If you’ve received help from an organization, let them know!! Write a review, post on their FB wall, share your experiences on your social media.
Your story WILL change lives. It WILL help others. ONE TEAM, ONE MISSION.
# # #
GallantFew is a non-profit charitable organization committed to the prevention of veteran isolation by connecting new veterans with hometown veteran mentors, thereby facilitating a peaceful, successful transition from military service to civilian life filled with hope and purpose. STAR Fitness System stands for self-training and responsibility, except GallantFew changes responsibility to response-ability. The five points of the GallantFew STAR are: Emotional Fitness, Physical Fitness, Social Fitness, Professional Fitness and Spiritual Fitness (https://gallantfew.org/gallantfew-services/)
Darby Project is a division of GallantFew (www.gallantfew.org), a peer-to-peer mentoring and assistance organization for US military veterans and their families. Their primary mission is to facilitate a successful transition from active duty to civilian life filled with hope and purpose.