Storytelling is a powerful tool, and quite frankly, we need more of it. Sure, it can be intimidating and vulnerable, but what we gain through the process and letting go of what we always held so closely can be what heals us the most. When we make the choice to speak up about our struggles, we’re no longer allowing them to have any power over us. We are, in turn, setting free what has always made us feel trapped, and we’re gaining control over what we never felt in control of.
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Before I made the choice to share my story with the world, I was plagued with the thought of “What if people judge me?” And to that, I say, “Who cares?” Your story is not meant for everyone, and not everyone is going to understand your journey. THIS IS PERFECTLY OKAY. To not share your story out of fear of what others may think is an injustice to yourself and to those who will benefit from the importance that is your journey. In the couple years that I have been sharing my own, I have been overwhelmingly surprised with the amount of people who write to let know that my story helped them in some way. THAT is why I do it, and THAT is why I will continue to speak my truth. The purpose of storytelling is to give others a sense of hope for their own life. Not all people will resonate with what you have to say, but what they may learn from it is the most important reason that you should say it anyway.
We all lead very unique lives; each journey is different from the last. While some people may face more external struggles, others have to deal with internal battles. Many strangers you meet might have had to endure something you’ve never dealt with before. Imagine what kind of world we’d live in if everyone spoke openly about what they’ve gone through without feeling shame or insecurity. When we share our stories, we’re doing our part in breaking stigmas, forming connections, and bringing together those who have ever felt alone. When we acknowledge the elephant in the room, and welcome a conversation about it, we can finally address the real issues that people have, instead of trying to pretend we’re all just fine. There is no reward for putting on the best show. We only begin to heal what hurts when we choose to become aware of it.
Whether your story includes a life of addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, disordered eating, suicide or something else, there is always at least one person who is going to find value in what you have to say. By telling our stories, we are letting others know that it’s okay to be honest about who we were, who we are, and who we have the potential of becoming. We cannot keep pretending that we have it together. By speaking our truth, we’re giving permission to anyone who has stayed quiet, to finally speak up. Being vulnerable should always be seen as a strength, and never something to be ashamed of.
The life you’re living is worth talking about. Your story is yours to share. Own it!