I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit down with many people. The things they talked to me about varied greatly but one thing was consistent: when talking about painful moments in their lives this part of their story was either preceded or followed by “I haven’t told anyone this before” or “I don’t really talk about this with very many people.” It surprised me how honest these people were with someone they had only just met. Every single one of them expressed some form of relief at the end of our conversations, too. Several of them felt empowered to share their stories with someone else they trusted. It made me realize an important truth that comes with sharing stories: The more you share them, the easier it gets. For some that happens fairly quickly; for others, it is a gradual process.
But at the end of the day, one thing was clear to me. Sharing our stories is an important part of healing that often gets overshadowed by our fear, our shame, or our pain. Yes, you may have a story to tell but you are not that story. You are not your secrets. You were made to live beautiful and free.
So often we end up feeling like we’re going through life unheard. When we don’t feel our voices are heard, we don’t feel like our stories have value. And when we deny the value of our story, we stop fighting to make it heard. Brene Brown puts it this way when she says, “When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”
This is true for every single one of us.
Each of us are more than our mistakes, failures and faults.
Each of us are more than the abuse we have endured, the shame we have lived under, the addiction we have battled, the sadness we have felt, the challenges we have faced, the guilt we have experienced, the sickness we have been diagnosed with, the wrong we have done and the brokenness of who we are.
Each of us has worth, value and a future.
Each of our lives are composed of more than a single, one-dimensional story of our failures and pain.
Your story matters. Your voice matters. Find the people who will listen to you. The people that will stay for you. Remember that you are not alone. We're all in this together. It's okay to be honest. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to say you're stuck. We can all relate to those things. Fight the stigma that says otherwise. Break the silence and break the cycle, for you are more than just your pain. We are stories ongoing.