How to use stories to talk about difficult things with your loved ones.
Talking about the hard stuff
You feel like you’re going to burst with all the things that you don’t say. Your mind won’t slow down but sharing your thoughts feels impossible. You’re a smart individual, but you can’t seem to find the words to describe what you’re going through.
It’s not your fault. Worry, stress, sadness, and fear can hijack our mind in ways we didn’t plan for. Let’s talk about some ways to use pop culture as a “door opener” with our loved ones.
What connects us
You likely have some favorite tv shows, movies, comics, etc… We all do, right? Have you ever stopped to consider why you like these things so much? This is a part of our heritage, of our bones. Of our very psyche. Connection to stories has always grounded us in real human experiences.
I want you to think about that one book or movie that you just love. You’ve consumed it time and again and still, you are drawn to the characters. Why? Why do you love this story so much? What part of your life do those characters speak to? We can use these stories as access points to talk about things we relate to. Point to them to illustrate parts of our own experience. We can also use them to highlight traits that we admire.
Who do you love?
The Punisher? Maybe you can relate to how his mind goes back to losing his loved ones. How he feels trapped in his own thoughts. Talk about how you feel angry and wish that your choices were as black and white/ good or bad as they are in the comics. How it feels confusing to deal with shades of gray.
Black Widow struggles with anxiety. She is a master spy and expert in shifting her personality to the situation. Is this something you can relate to? Feeling like you know how to tell people what they want to hear? What about how she has made a lot of bad choices in her life, but that you admire how she now works to repair the damage she’s done.
Love Han Solo? He is extremely capable, confident, talented, and independent. Talk about how you admire these things. How you wish you could be quicker on your feet. Talk about a time you only came up with a good response hours after an argument with a friend. Or talk about the Death Star and how you wish that you could blow up your own stress as well as the Rebellion does.
How about Hermione Granger. She is extremely bright, dedicated, works hard, and succeeds in a story largely populated by males. When the chips are down, Hermione can be counted out to figure out an answer. Share your admiration of these traits. Comment on how Hermione might respond to what you’re going through.
Love D&D? Talk about how it helps you connect with others. How it makes you feel capable when your life feels overwhelming. How it lets you solve problems creatively and makes it safer to act out your feelings. Talk about how you wish you had the same sort of agency and power as your character.
Connecting with others
Inviting others into our love of stories creates opportunities to talk about our own experience, things we want for ourselves, and things that we struggle with. Shoot me an email. Even if you’re not interested in therapy right now, I absolutely love talking about the things that connect us all.
Take care of yourself, and read something great today!
If you want to check out other ways to use characters from stories, check out my blog on Gandalf and life-visioning.