The Power of Sharing Stories
It can be so easy to convince ourselves that everyone else has it all worked out.
I know I spent many years believing that I was the only one who was flailing blindly through life. I had this overwhelming feeling that I was either here on this planet by mistake or that I had missed the meeting where they handed out the manual on how to be a human. I spent so many years having imposter syndrome, worried that all these fully developed human beings would find out I wasn’t one of them. I spent all my energy bottling up how I really felt, fearful of allowing anyone to know the real story. I was afraid that if anyone found out that they would run away.
Of course, I now know that this isn’t what happens. When you share your story the opposite happens. People come towards you because your story is so familiar.
In many indigenous cultures there is a belief that a memory is not complete until it has been shared. When something lives solely inside of you it becomes entirely your experience. It lives and breathes inside of you. It runs through your veins, hides in the unknown recesses of your heart, it grasps its white knuckles around the synapses in your brain. It will not disappear. As the story is repeated inside yourself it echoes and reverberates until it has filled the container. Until it has filled you.
To share an experience, a feeling, a memory, is to pull the cork from the bottle. As we share our stories, however harrowing they may seem as they lurk within us, we release them into the vast ocean of stories.
They stop being our own story. They become everybody’s story.
They become another chapter in the sea of human experience.
They weave themselves with the stories of our neighbours. They float neatly alongside the stories of our perceived enemies. Once a story is spoken out loud- be that to one trusted person or a room full of strangers - it is no longer the rotten apple festering in and infecting our inner fruit bowl.
It is now a healing tool for ourselves and others. It loses its dominion over our life and becomes the gift that we never imagined it could be.
The more we share our stories the more human we become.