When I wrote about why you should tell your story, it prompted some conversation in my real life. You know, not this weird online third dimension that often isn’t a good representation of our actual selves but the real thing where I actually do life. In my real life, several of my friends are saying to me, “I want to write. I want to tell my story,” but they’re stuck there.
They are stuck in the place of recognizing that telling their story might be a good thing and yet the reality of actually doing it scares them to death. The practical questions of “What do I tell?” and “Who do I tell it to?” and “Tell me again, why should I do this crazy thing?” are haunting them. And it makes me think that maybe I haven’t been really clear.
I don’t think you have to be a writer to share your story. In fact, I don’t think writing or blogging is a necessary component to it at all. When I say you should tell your story, I don’t mean on a blogging platform. Even I, with all that I have opened up publicly haven’t gotten to a place of sharing the whole story of my whole life chronologically from start to now. I don’t think that’s what it’s about.
When I say to tell your story, I mean that I think it is life-changing and life-giving to be in touch with the feelings and emotions that have happened in the most pivotal moments of your life. What did you feel? What are you still feeling? What makes you ashamed? In what ways are you still compensating for those things you didn’t get? What wounds are you still carrying from your past that still sit, raw and bleeding in your heart?
To tell your story, you have to explore those things. You have to know who you are to truly connect with another. Knowing your story and connecting with the pain and joy and loss and love all wrapped up together is what it’s all about. And then, once you’ve connected with those feelings, you choose someone to share it with. When I say someone, I mean that you start with one person. Be sure that it is someone who understands the value of this type of hard work you are doing, someone who has performed this delicate surgery on their own soul.
Make a coffee date or a lunch date and share where you are spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Let them know that you want them to know you, the parts of you that nobody knows. Make it okay for them to ask the questions of you that everyone else has been afraid to ask because you’ve unknowingly made it off-limits. Keep in mind, though, this really isn’t about this other person, what they know and what they don’t know about you. It’s about you.
You are the one who stands to gain the freedom of being who you really are, accepting yourself for all of the good and bad. You will be able to live in that joy for the first time. You are the one who will be released from the shame you’ve been carrying for so long. Simply telling your story out loud has this funny way of releasing you from the grip of shame. Darkness just can’t live in the light, so allow the light to flood into the deepest recesses of your heart.
The one thing that’s stopping you is fear. Fear that if you were to connect with all of the pain and loss and disappointment of your past, that it might be too much. That it might hurt so much that it would overwhelm you, that you could never come back from it. It’s a legitimate fear. That’s why we packed away those wounds of our past so tightly, because we were afraid we might not survive otherwise.
But, here’s what you need to know.
It’s not your wounds that define you. It’s what you do with them that matters.
It’s okay to be afraid. We are all afraid. But what separates those of us who receive healing and redemption even in the darkest places from those who don’t? It’s the willingness to wade into the dark waters in spite of fear because we believe that we have more to lose from doing nothing than we do from doing something. It’s the desperate longing to shake free of the prison we’ve lived in for so long.
You don’t need to be a writer to tell your story. It’s not something to be broadcast like television news for all to hear. It is simply is a way of living life as your true self instead of the false image that you’ve been projecting for so long.
It’s finding the real you and sharing of yourself when the right opportunity comes along.