Story of my Life
The story of your life is a thing of beauty. It may also be the one thing that saves someone else's life.
No? You disagree with me? Perhaps you're in the middle of some really harrowing and scary misadventure, kind of like Sam and Frodo in Lord of the Rings. Or maybe you're living the really boring parts that every movie skips over in order to get to the important dialog and action to move the story along (even Frodo and Sam had a lot of boring walking to do between all of that harrowing adventure).
Either way, yours is an incredible tale that, when told in reverse, will probably have some pretty incredible motifs, lessons, and journeys. You may not be able to see that yet. You may never see them, but I believe that it all happens for a reason, and that includes your life's story.
Even if you think your story is normal or boring or could otherwise be of no use to anyone, let me assure you: you're wrong. Because even if you are 'normal', that only means that you would behave the way a statistical majority of people would behave, given the circumstances.
But there is another segment of the population. These people don't fall into the 'normal' category, and they can use your knowledge. They may benefit from your perspective.
Your story, the choices you make in a given circumstance, is very powerful. Your story tells others that you survived a certain event. Your failure or success carry lessons, insights, warnings and cautions. Your experience can be a map to unfolding someone else's future, but only if you're willing to share that story.
In life, we need to make room for that to happen. We sometimes do it at bridal showers: we get together with a young bride and the already-married women can impart their knowledge and experience. Or during baby showers, mothers (and fathers, sure, what the heck, I'll include you too) can share their tips and tricks for getting through everything from teething to the terrible twos.
But every day can be a time to share your story with someone who just may need to hear it. A coffee date, a dinner with new friends, or even just a casual conversation struck with a stranger while in line can be the fortuitous chance to hear or share a story.
Sharing these stories is so important because we all-too-easily fall into the mistaken thought that we're alone, that no one else has ever faced what we're facing, that no one else could possibly know what we've been through. We become segregated, we pull away, and we think we need to go it alone. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Even if someone doesn't have the same story, they may have a piece of it. They may have had an experience that parallels your own, and they may have a solution to what you're going through.
This is one time when cheating is ok, even encouraged!
We can cheat off of them. We can learn from their mistakes and save ourselves a whole lot of trouble - and loneliness at the same time. We don't have to keep making the same mistakes that others made.
But more importantly, I think we want to know that we're not alone. Other people have struggled with the same experience. Some of them had it worse than we did! I remember one of the defining moments of my life was in a personal development course as a teen. I attended the course with a guy I thought was super cute (he had great hair. What is it about guys with great hair?)
I didn't know him well, but could tell he was popular in his school and probably had no trouble making friends. I was on the complete other end of the spectrum.
But somehow during that week, he confessed that he was insecure. He didn't always feel popular. He battled with loneliness and low self-esteem too. Him! The guy with the amazing hair!
That's when I began to realize that everyone, on some level, has the same story. We all feel the same way at some point or another. We all struggle with the same base problems: loneliness, the desire to fit in or be loved, the longing to feel important, to make a difference, the yearning to be known. There are many ways these desires are played-out in our lives, but the stories can be boiled down to the same basic plot.
The only difference is that you're on a different page than I am. And if you've already written the chapter I'm currently struggling through, why wouldn't I want to hear how you overcame that chapter, how you triumphed or what you learned?
Your story is powerful, but only if you tell it.
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