Stories are one of the earliest forms of communication, through which humans have learnt to connect. We are imaginative beings; our brains don’t naturally relate to cutting through emotions and straight to logical conclusions.
Apparently, the best way to our minds is through our hearts.
Most of us see the value in learning someone else’s inspiring story, but we don’t always seem to find enough merit in our own. It’s easy to dismiss our past as irrelevant and our present as uninteresting, because it might not seem as grand or dramatic.
I’ve never met anyone who didn’t have a story. None of them were princesses captured in high towers nor mythical creatures. And it wasn’t their professional resumes that got my attention.
I mean, if someone handed you Martin Luther King Jr’s CV instead of his biography, would you have known him as well as we all do today?
In this bite size world of social media, we tend to share only the highlights. I suspect the case would drastically differ if we could locate within us the right kind of motivation.
Not convinced yet? Here are 10 good reasons why I think our once upon a time tales matter.
It might seem hard to believe sometimes, but you’re in fact one of a kind.
When we think of our personal stories, our first thought is usually – what story? I’m really no big deal, just an ordinary person with a little ordinary life, and NO ONE wants to hear my boring nonsense.
First of all, don’t talk to yourself like that!
Because the truth is, while others might live similar physical circumstances to yours, no one else has your thoughts, experiences, hopes, and fears. They might have faced the same challenges, but the choices only you were able to make have brought you here today. Nope, not even your identical twin has an identical life.
Your story is unique, you know it inside and out, and you’re capable of telling the best version of it.
FIND YOUR VOICE
It’s a bit of a chicken and an egg situation; should you find your voice first and then tell your story, or should you start telling it anyway in order to discover your own voice?
Learning by doing is my preferred mode of growth and prosperity. Hence, I say start telling it now, experiment with various platforms and find your voice in the process. Once you’ve realized what is it that gets people to listen and engage, you’ll know you’ve found it.
I have a close friend who just finished writing her first book, in Turkish. We communicate in English, so does she with her Swiss husband. Both of us not entirely sure what that book we are betting our lives on to get published and succeed is exactly about. But did she let that stop her? Not really! She pressed through in her first tongue, the medium in which she has found her flow and went for it. Had she waited around for the rest of us to understand and approve her passions and her thoughts, that book would’ve probably never seen the light.
NURTURE A DESIRE FOR STORYTELLING
If for no other reason, becoming the lead character in your life could perhaps fulfill that burning desire to bring forth the story inside you that wants to be told.
We all enjoy reading a good story, where protagonists are carefully shaped, dreams are pursued, and sound morals are drawn. Perhaps you’ve firsthand witnessed a bunch of such stories unfold in your own life, and you’re in the best position to harvest the honest feelings they entail.
SHARING IS CARING
There is a reason you know what you know. Chances are that knowledge stuck in your head because you’ve learned it the hard way.
Someone else out there is probably facing the same hardship you’ve once overcome, and they’re struggling to emerge at the other end of the tunnel unharmed.
If roles were reversed, and that person was once again you, wouldn’t you appreciate being gently pointed in the direction of salvation. Sure, no promises of the problem miraculously disappearing, but wouldn’t you prefer to go through a particularly tough situation armed with some clues.
What if I told you that your story holds a number of those clues? Would you be so generous to tell it now?
FIND YOUR TRIBE
For years I asked myself – “How come no one gets me? Why does it seem like my entire life’s value is driven by what I do for living rather than by my passions and aspirations? How come this place doesn’t feel like home anymore? Where do I really belong?”.
I think it was around my thirtieth birthday that I realized – life is probably giving me back as much as I am putting out into it. My family and friends are not mind readers; they know about me what I chose to reveal to them. Society is made up of people from all walks of life, my true tribe will not find me if they never knew I existed.
That’s when I started blogging and took on photography as focused means of self-expression, and joined the lines of an online community that (I think) gets it.
Also, psychotherapy wasn’t covered by insurance at that time.
Lately, I am forming some amazing friendships on Instagram of all places!
MAKE SENSE OF LIFE
You know how sometimes thoughts seem to reorganize themselves more sensibly as soon as they come out of your mouth? Mid explaining to my husband how I don’t actually understand why such horrible things would happen to me, I sort of go – OMG, it all makes sense now!!
I’ve basically just heard the complete story for the first time.
Telling your story can be incredibly therapeutic. Examining a series of individual troubling events could make the weight on your shoulder feel heavier, connecting them on the other could provide the missing links.
LEAVE A LASTING LEGACY
For family, for loved ones, for yourself. We all want to be remembered for something one day. Why not be remembered for your thoughts, beliefs, the immense love you feel for others and for life.
I am pretty sure this type of legacy will be far much appreciated than material possessions, by those who matter.
RECORD A PARTICULAR PERIOD OF LIFE
Wars and bad presidents get their place in history because they make better news headlines. But what about the social metamorphosis of people and cultures?
I am assuming there isn’t an anthropologist sitting at your doorstep recording what’s going on in your life, neighborhood, or community right this moment. A hundred years from now things might look and feel very different to say the least. No one will even know how we got there unless you perhaps make note of it.
And don’t be fooled by how over connected the world appears to be, most of it is distracting noise.
DESIGN YOUR FUTURE
The story of your past could very much shape your future.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in the meant to be. At the same time, I think that the lessons of the past play a critical role in adopting the right attitude with which we decided to navigate the future. Making our journey ahead either more pleasant or just as difficult.
Oftentimes the one thing keeping us from telling our stories is the fear of judgment and rejection. Not to forget the pressure you might feel to paint the perfect mural of your life on your Facebook wall. By giving yourself permission to be vulnerable, showing up as your true self and sharing more parts of you regardless of who’s watching, you’re demonstrating tremendous courage.
I am sure you would like to become that constructive example to some people in your life, or beyond.
Just in case, here is your permission – IT’S ABSOLUTELY OK TO KEEP IT REAL.
So… what’s your story?