What does it look like to share your story?
How much should you share on the Internet? Where billions upon billions of hearts have access to your words? Half of that billion is longing for someone to give them something to believe in and the other half is waiting, watching for someone to tear down.
Hearing people’s stories have become one of my most favorite things. I collect them like sacred treasures, burry them deep in my being so they can grow into something beautiful inside of me. Then, from that growth a sweet fragrance rises, touching the storyteller in gratitude and reaching for hearts who need what I once needed.
Some stories offered to me have changed my life and helped me become my truest, greatest self. I would go as far as to say that some stories offered to me have saved my life while in my darkest seasons.
Liz Gilbert’s story saved me as I was reading her book while living in a country that I had never been to before. Lindsey’s story saved me while she was yelling it over blaring Latin music, sitting next to a bar in an animated Mexican restaurant. Jocelyn’s story saved me while we sat on the roof, stars above us, laundry hung around us, Guatemala beneath us as a country we were about to explore.
On one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcasts, Brene Brown, said, “The only stories I share with the public are stories I have already processed, and my healing is not contingent on your opinion of those stories… I don’t share any stories about myself that do not serve my work and that don’t serve my mission of my work.”
Writers, blogger, expressers – sharing any part of your story before taking these steps is abusive to yourself. It is not in service of the reader, and it is not in service of your own heart. It opens you up to shame, confusion, and the obstruction of healing. However, if your story is publically shared after your processing and is then countered, there is no need to defend it. You, somehow, become neutral. Because you have grown past what you have written, and you are now leaving it behind as a jewel for the next person to pick up.
So many people write publically with a deep yearning for healing, but that’s not the right, not the safe, not the possible place to find it. Write to process. Write to learn what you know. But don’t share those writings for the sake of healing, because that is not what you’ll reap.
I’m getting ready to share some parts of my story.
I think sharing stories means disclosing all the details: the big, sexy, flashy details and the small, contextual, seemingly insignificant details, too.
These parts of my story are ones I didn’t dream of, didn’t particularly enjoy, and not something I would exactly wish on another. But I will share it.
But by owning my story, I then get to choose how it ends. By owning my story, I poise myself for how I want to respond to it. By owning my story, I am transformed by my story and am able to help others own theirs.
So is it time?
I think it is. I think you share your story when your healing is not contingent on the response.