Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours?
To tell your story can be a daunting undertaking for many reasons. Firstly, it’s not an easy thing to do. You might think it’s something that comes naturally. After all, who knows your life better than you? However, this means combing through your own long, personal history. It means parsing the events that have shaped you, the important characters you’ve known and condense a literal lifetime into one story. Finding the essence of yourself takes a lot of personal reflection.
That brings us to the second and more common deterrent for why people don’t tell their own story; it’s scary. To examine your life in such a way and relive your moments good and bad, then share them with others is one of the most vulnerable situation you could put yourself in. Here’s why you should do it anyway.
For your past.
To tell your story and to tell it effectively, you need to look back on your life in such a way as you never have before. You have to relive all the experiences that helped to shape you into the person you are today. Sometimes these experiences won’t be pleasant. You’ll have to go over your regrets, the hard lessons you learned and those painful moments that you have tried your best to forget. While it might seem unpleasant at times, it serves as a type of therapy you perform with yourself. It’s rare you ever look back at any moment in your life with such detail, considering what it has meant in the long run. Such a intense look at your past can certainly better help you appreciate the life you’ve had and all you’ve done.
For your future.
While your story is ultimately meant for others, it doesn’t mean you can’t take something away from the stories you tell. Your story is, after all, a look into your own experiences — and what are experiences if not learning opportunities. As you unravel your past, you can consider what it means for your future. You’ll encounter experiences you had forgotten, relive moments you never knew meant so much to you. How will these discoveries affect your life going forward? How will what you’ve learned lead you to a better life? It’s your story, so while it could mean something to others, how could it not mean something substantial to you?
Why do we tell stories in general? You could argue that some stories exist only to elicit a certain emotion, like sadness, fear or thrills. But however simple a story is, it’s purpose is to teach something. Those who hear your story might not find anything to connect with. They might not relate to your experiences. They might not understand your decisions. They might reach different conclusions than you. But then there will be others. These others can hear your story, they can be motivated, questions could be answered, paths could become clear. This is why you become a storyteller and with your story in your own hands, who knows who will hear it over time.
Though there is an understandable hesitation for some to share so much, remember that your story can be told in any number of ways. Many people write their own memoirs for others to read, but an artistic mind can present a story (even such a complex one) through all sorts of mediums. Through painting, music, podcasting, film making — there is no end to how you story can reach others and how you can express yourself. And always remember that you have no idea the impact your story can have to others.