We all have stories.
We’ve lived our varied lives, and while some details may overlap, our stories are specific to each of us. Our experiences, good and bad, tender moments bursting with joy and light and the heart-wrenching darkness of grief and pain are being woven together to create our unique tale.
I have a story. I have stories, even, and I can tell you that the tone of the story changes with each season that I’ve been in. Whether I’d count it as remarkable or not isn’t the point—it belongs to me. It’s mine to share or to keep tucked away, just like your story belongs to you. Some details are light and casual, like the city I was born in and where I went to college, but others are heavy and personal, like my struggles with anxiety and fear. I’ve often experienced hesitancy to disclose such personal issues, and I’d imagine you also have stories that are personal to you as well. While it’s incredibly important to vet your audience when you want to share personal information (such as if someone is trustworthy, if it’s appropriate, etc.) I’d like to share some of the reasons why you should share your story.
It’s mine to share or to keep tucked away, just like your story belongs to you.
To Bring Healing
Choosing to make ourselves vulnerable with others and reveal a struggle or a personal triumph is an intimidating thing to do but it can bring so much healing. When I’ve brought down my walls with trusted individuals and released something that’s embarrassing or shameful, I’ve been met with such empathy and kindness. It takes a special kind of grit to share ourselves with others, but grit invites grace. It’s healing to see that others have struggled as we have and have overcome. Your story has the potential to bring that to others as well! (Don’t miss another writer’s story of this in Why I Share My Story of Healing After Domestic Abuse)
To Bring Freedom
Similarly to bringing healing, sharing stories can bring freedom. It’s difficult to feel boxed in or nervous about things coming to light when you’ve released them. I once heard that integrity is being the same person outside as you are on the inside and I think that sharing our journeys with each other is a part of that. You may never know who can relate to you or who your story will encourage. We can bring and experience freedom and openness when we choose to share.
To Bring Perspective
When we’re living in the middle of situations it’s easy to become overwhelmed or feel like things are never going to change. When we share our stories, we’re reminded of how much we’ve already overcome. Sometimes looking back on things brings a surprising level of encouragement—I can personally think of a handful of times where I struggled so much with discouragement and anxiety that I never thought I’d make it through. When I remember those days now it puts my current situation into perspective. Nothing lasts forever, and better days are coming.
As I mentioned before, it’s really important to understand when and where things are appropriate to share. It’s possible to be honest and transparent but apply discernment. Sharing from a place of anger or malice doesn’t bring healing, freedom or proper perspective. It’s our responsibility to consider the effect our stories will have and choose to utilize them in a positive way. It’s just one more area to display grit and give grace.
For more from strong women who have shared their stories, listen to this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Skillet’s Jen Ledger Shares Her Faith, Her Fear and Her Strength – 044