Being vulnerable is not easy, but it can change people’s lives.
Have you ever thought of sharing your life’s story, whether that’s simply through a YouTube video, an Instagram or Facebook post or by writing a book? Did this thought ever cross your mind before? Well, I guess it did or it will from now on and this is the reason this article found you. You are here to understand how valuable your life story, your experiences are for the world.
Here are the top four reasons why you should start to share your story. There are many more reasons, maybe your personal ones. But those reasons will give you a new perspective on the importance and magnitude of your personal story in this world. I often hear, “Who would want to hear my struggles or successes or all the things that I experienced?” Believe me, there are a lot of people who would not only want to hear it but would benefit or learn from it. Be careful, reading this might stir up the urge to really carry your story out into the world, maybe in a way you never thought of before.
1. Digest what happened.
Sharing your story, in whatever way, is a great way to reflect on what happened. You take yourself the time to acknowledge everything that happened, how it made you feel, what you did, and the way this experience(s) influenced your present life. Sometimes, when we take the time to go through the things we experienced again, we explore it in a way we haven’t thought of thus far. We learn new lessons in the things that lay already in the past that will have a positive influence on our lives now, after all that time. Life can be fast and demanding. We fight through all the challenges that occur. But when do we really take the time to reflect on things? Maybe we sit down after overcoming a challenge and relax a bit. Maybe we talk to a friend about it. Maybe, after facing a challenge for several weeks, months or sometimes years, we believe that thinking it over for a few hours or talking about it with a friend is enough time. But some things need more time to digest in our emotional body. A wound doesn’t heal in a day, not in our physical body and also not in our emotional body.
When you publish your story in some way, in whatever way, you take the time to think things through again. You go through it all again and additionally, you look at them from another perspective because you want to share them with other people, which automatically changes the way you look at it. And this new perspective might open up a new learning from the situation. Something you didn’t see right after it happened. Something that you weren’t ready to fully understand. But now, with some time in between, it makes sense.
Sharing your story with others, is an amazingly powerful way of healing yourself. It helps you to grasp the full meaning of something that happened in the past, something that you thought you had already completed in a way. Sharing your story can be your option of complete closure of an event happened even long time ago. They say that when we heal ourselves, we heal others as well. This is the next powerful reason for sharing your story with the world.
2. Inspire and support others.
Not only do you help and heal yourself, or simply find closure in the experience, but you will inspire and support others by sharing it. Imagine the last time you felt alone with a struggle in your life. Wouldn’t it have been amazing if you knew that there are other people out there, who have overcome this before? Or even better, they shared how they overcame it? If you didn’t have someone you could look up to, you have the chance to be this person for someone else by sharing your story. You open the possibility of someone going through something you already have been through and offering them some guidance or (at least) some company. Sometimes it is already enough to know that we are not alone with our struggles, isn’t it? Then knowing that people made it successfully through it is even more comforting. Getting inspired by the way they handled the situation is almost the jackpot. Especially topics that aren’t spoken about much. Starting the conversation about something that happens to people, but that might be loaded with judgement or shame, is so important and the next reason you should share your story today.
3. Open a new conversation that other people shy away from.
Lately, more and more people open up about stories only a few people were bold enough to talk about. Some topics are loaded with judgment, shame or something that makes people shy away from sharing that they have been through it before. When was the last time you felt ashamed of something? Wouldn’t it be great, especially then to have someone or some place to turn to, in order to simply talk about it or gather information around this topic? Our society is full of topics that are filled with shame and the like. Addiction of any kind, eating disorders, depression, abortion, politics, sex, religion, domestic violence, spirituality – the list goes on and on. And some of those themes like religion, sex or politics are part of all our lives in one way or another. And yet it can be so hard to openly talk about it or gather and exchange information. But those topics are important, and we live in a time where we don’t get hanged for having an opinion, at least in most parts of the world. Shouldn’t we make more use of this freedom? Thinking about our ancestors who didn’t have the luxury of speaking out their truth, their opinion, I think we should be more grateful to even have this possibility and, above all, we should make use of it. People like Tony Robbins, who inspire and help millions of people, shared their story about an abusive childhood, drugs and the like. Gary Vaynerchuk, who came into the US as an immigrant shares his struggles and inspires and helps millions of people. Ariana Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou – women with stories, filled with challenges they have been overcoming. Things we can’t even imagine but they shared their story and helped millions of people with it. There are many more people like them, but not enough. They all have something in common: they believed that sharing their story may help at least one person, it was worth it, because they know how it feels to have no support during those times. Their stories inspired me to tell my story and to call up on everyone out there, to do the same.
4. Empower others to tell their story.
By telling your story openly, owning it and showing the world where it brought you, will empower others to speak up too. Think about the recent example the whole “me too” movement. One person started to open the conversation, a few more joined, and suddenly, it became an international known movement. Or when kids were separated from their parents by the US government, within a matter of days, the entire planet was doing whatever was in their power to stop it. Just because a few spoke up and shared what was happening. There is much more power in sharing our stories than we think. Often, we don’t even see that people are watching us, but they are. More than we realize. We are a role model to everyone watching us. We just need to decide what kind of role model we want to be. What is it that we want to model? What is it that we want to teach the people around us? In what way do we want to inspire them? If it is just our neighbour, the person behind us in line in our favourite coffee shop or a person overhearing a conversation we have on the phone with someone, people hear and see us. And every time they do, we get the chance to teach them something.
Like I said in the beginning, it doesn’t have to be a book. You don’t have to start a YouTube channel or make your story extremely big. Share it in whatever way feels right, necessary and useful. If you simply talk about it with friends and family. If you share it on your personal social media channel or if you really go big and share it with the entire world in a more public way, iy is up to you. But if there is one takeaway for you here, one thing I want to teach you, it is that your story matters. It is not “just” you, or this “little” thing, or “who wants to hear my story? Who am I? I am not a celebrity.” – you don’t need to be. You can be the most important person in a random person’s life by sharing your story with them.
I once sat in an Uber on my way to the airport in Los Angeles, and I always love to talk to the drivers and exchange thoughts on different topics. He was around sixty, over three decades older than me and told me he was very unhappy. He told me the different ways the was trying to become happy. Women, money, power, career, he even went to war to fight for his country because he hoped that this would give him some more meaning in his life. When we arrived at the airport, I grabbed my bag of crystals and picked one for him. As he handed me my luggage, I gave him the crystal, told him that it is supposed to help him see clearly, feel clearly, and communicate clearly from his heart. If he was really aiming to find happiness, I told him, he needed to look within. Nothing he tried was able to give him the happiness because happiness comes from within. It is something that we create on our own, everything else around us is just adding to the happiness we already created ourselves. I am happy, every single day simply because I am alive. I have been through challenging times before and I’m sure there are many more awaiting me in the future. But I remembered how happy I was as a kid and I worked hard for years to get back to that almost effortless, childlike joy for life. It requires my daily attention and it is a work in progress. I have bad days and bad moods, but I decided that happiness was my natural state of being.
He was not really the kind of man you would expect to listen to this kind of perspective. He in fact had a very different perspective on all the topics we were talking about before.
But I knew no matter how he would react to what I was telling him, I tried my best to be the role model I want to be in the world. I tried my best to be the person I want to be, the woman I want to be, the Uber guest I want to be, the random person you meet on the street. I did my best to be me, fully vulnerable, opening up a perspective that the majority of people still think is naive, but I know it is true; true for me at least.
He stared at me, slowly reached for the crystal I was holding out and his eyes and his entire body language softened, and he asked me if he could hug me. He gave me a hug, thanked me for my words, for the crystal and told me that this was the kindest thing anyone gave and said to him in decades. He told me most people would rather be intimidated by him and wouldn’t treat him very kind. He further told me, that this would give him hope to still find happiness in this lifetime and he would try all the things we were talking about and look at happiness differently.
I never saw him again, so far. I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t know what he’ll really do with what I told him. But when I looked in his eyes the second I gave him the crystal, I saw that something within him moved and changed – if it was only for this moment, it taught me how important it is to be who we are. Even if the person we are looking at might be likely to laugh at our opinion, at least we tried and, sometimes, people surprise us and are grateful that we spoke our truth and shared our story.
— Published on September 17, 2018
Author: Melissa Kiss - https://thriveglobal.com/