We live in a society where most of us are struggling with something whether it's motherhood, mental health, or entrepreneurship, but very few are willing to come forth and speak their truth. And I get it. I really do.
It's scary to say that you don't have it all figured out. To share that sometimes you have no idea what you're doing. To admit that your life kind of looks like a hot mess.
Rejection. Judgment. Shame.
These are things we are familiar with and have dealt with.
From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, we depend on social media and the Internet like it's our last dying wish. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and your email inbox. We live in a world where everything is carefully thought out and crafted together, from the billboards we see to the advertisements on our Facebook feeds. From our favorite YouTubers to our Instagram dashboards. It's important for your sanity to remember that these things did not happen by accident or overnight.
It can be a breeding ground for comparison, fear, and doubt. Thoughts like "Am I enough?" cloud our judgment and cause inaction.
We struggle between wanting to fully showcase every part of our lives to not wanting to share anything at all. We're excited and quick to share our Sunday brunches with waffles and mimosas on Snapchat and Instagram, but not about going to see a therapist or having yet another rejection letter.
The problem with sharing only the highlights of our lives is...
It sends a message to everyone around us (including ourselves because our subconscious soaks everything up like a sponge) that we are only allowed to share the good things and only the good things. The moments that go well and in our favor. The parts of our lives that are Instagrammable and can be shared in 9 seconds on Snapchat.
But not the messy parts, the hard parts, the parts that twist your stomach into a million knits.
The good news is we're starting to see a change, where millennials and even older generations are starting to break down their barriers and fears and share their stories. About the messy, complicated, and not-so-perfect parts of their lives. I'm so grateful for people like Jenna Kutcher, Aileen from Lavendaire, Lauren from The Real Female Entrepreneur, Beth from The Free Woman, Robin from The Diary of An Empath, and Bria from Tendril Wild. Shout out to these wonderful ladies for showing up in the world and doing the work that they do and so many more women out there like them. I love you all.
Storytelling is an essential part of who we are.
Our minds, our bodies, our hearts, and our souls.
Here are 6 reasons why we need to share our stories:
No one likes to feel like they're in this all alone, but that's how we feel when we keep everything to ourselves. We disconnect, and we build walls around us instead of bridges. We adopt this "you vs. me" and "who has it better / worse" mentality. However, when we finally start to share our stories, we begin to slowly tear those walls down.
We start to find our people. The ones who get us. The ones who hear and see us for who we truly are. When we share our stories with others, we allow them to see the parts of us we were once taught not to show. The complicated and imperfect parts of our lives. And they start sharing the complicated and imperfect parts of them. We start embracing imperfection, together. That's how trust is built.
Storytelling with the heart is a chance to dive in and dig deeper. It's a time to ask the hard and uncomfortable questions. The ones that might make you question yourself and every decision you've ever made in the beginning, but will help you love and trust yourself more in the end. It will bring clarity and purpose back into your life.
Storytelling often includes matters of the heart, diving deep into creative and courageous living. It makes you reflect on where you've been and where you plan on going. It pushes you to live more intentionally and fully. When we share our stories, we step outside of our comfort zones. And we grow.
When we show up to share our stories, we create a space for others to share their stories with us. Because when we share some of the most vulnerable parts of our lives, there is no guarantee that everyone is going to love you and your story. There is always the chance of rejection and judgment.
When we share our own stories about mental illness, miscarriage, or whatever we're struggling with, we send a message to others that we are a safe place where they can talk about these things. Because we understand what it's like and what they're going through. There is a space for healing, forgiveness, and release of emotions to happen. We help others while helping ourselves.
In a world where everyone is trying to get noticed and seen as quickly as possible, there are few who are willing to sit down and truly listen. To give someone their full and undivided attention. In fact, it's hard to even have a full meal without checking your phone. Even when you're having a meal with someone else right in front of you.
So when someone takes the time to talk and share their stories with us that lasts longer than a 9 second Snapchat story, we start to see the real them and they see the real us. Because it's so rare nowadays where we share stories without a hidden agenda or motive. We're so used to being prepared to be sold something. Be the person to tell a real story and not sell something in the end.
Unfortunately, we still live in a society where issues like abortion, bipolar disorder, homelessness, lack of diversity and support, etc. are often swept under the rug and not talked about. We don't talk about our insecurities and struggles with our bodies or with the lack of self-love in our lives. We don't talk about our problems with our relationships or the amount of debt we have.
We don't ask for help, because we think it'll make us look weak. But in order to move forward, we need to do our part in raising education and awareness around these issues that affect not only us, but others as well. In order to break the stigma around mental illness, we have to be brave enough to share our stories. In order to change, we have to be the example.
When we find other people like us who have or are going through the same struggles as us, we feel less alone and more connected. We feel like we finally belong somewhere and it feels like home. But in order for that to happen, we need to show our true selves first, which means taking off our masks and showing up as we are. If we continue to pretend to be something we're not, we're unconsciously asking others to do the same, thus repeating the cycle of shame and fear.
As a community, we can start showing up for one another. We can invite others in and share our stories with them. We can create a welcoming and warm community. One built on love, connection, authenticity, and storytelling. In order to break a cycle, we must be willing to do something different and to challenge the status quo.
I believe that we all have a story within us - about love, pain, heartache, trust, loss, and everything in-between. And not so in-between.
Needless to say, life is quite the adventure. We all have our ups and downs, our highest of highs and lowest of lows, our deepest and darkest secrets, our lifelong dreams and desires, etc.
As storytellers, we can break shame cycles, change the direction in which we're headed as a society, and make waves. We can rock a few boats and raise a lot of eyebrows.
It's time to start showing up.
Want to share your story? Click here.
“If you do not let yourself be seen, you cannot see.” ― Vironika Tugaleva