“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”
– Jonathan Gottschall
We all have a beautiful story to share. Don’t ignore or disregard your story; own it and embrace it. All too often we hide our truth from others because we are fearful they might judge us, think less of us, or “unfriend” us. And as we grow older, we often forget how much we are actually comforted by story-sharing. Just ask any little one what they want to do before bedtime, and their answer would likely be, “Tell me a story!” The fixed routine of a bedtime story before sleeping has a relaxing effect. The soothing voice of the person telling the story allows for a calm atmosphere in which the child can more easily fall asleep. This emotional response creates a bond between the storyteller and the listener.
You are never alone; there is always someone struggling with the same challenges you are going through, always. We would be much kinder to one another if we all wore a visible sign that signified our current challenge in life. Can you imagine meeting someone and, as they introduce themselves, they share their name with their current struggles with you? Bob: cancer patient; Pat: depressed; Shawn: just lost a parent; Emily: homeless; Connie: cat just died; Mary: being bullied at school; Carla: spouse just asked for a divorce; Mark: no promotion at work; etc. Just imagine this right now. Now…realize this to be true, though not always verbalized or seen by the naked eye. Look deeper when you meet someone, when you greet someone, and especially when you’re tempted to judge someone. Look into their hearts and understand the unique challenges that we all face.
Embrace your truth by sharing your triumphs, your challenges, and your stories. People heal through emotional sharing and learning from other people’s experiences, not by following a specific recipe. When you take the time to share your story in a respectful and mature way, others will learn from your experiences and life lessons. You are right where you need to be at this very moment. And you must have needed every single day of your journey to get you to where you are today.
– Jessica Smith, B.S.