(Tell Me a Story, part 1 was published this past Sunday, and can be found here.)
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou
I love the stories that are a part of our collective cultural consciousness, whether epic or modest, as we touched on earlier this week; but my favorite stories are ones I recall from my childhood. My mother used to come home from a long day at work and read us our nightly bedtime story, often falling asleep herself before she reached the end. I remember laying on my pillow, somewhere between wakefulness and slumber, and thinking about what the end would be. Wondering whether I could dream the ending that would, the following night, materialize on the pages. But usually what I dreamed was more about what I was going through, than where the storybook characters were going.
As I grew older, I began to understand the importance of sharing my own stories – those events and perspectives that, as a child, had followed me into my dreams. Several years ago I hosted an online support group for people co-parenting with recovering addicts (sort of Narc-Anon, with a more specific focus). My main function in this group was to facilitate sharing by sharing myself. The “advice” that I contributed primarily consisted of me offering my perspective, along with an anecdote about my own relevant experience. I got so much out of being able to explore my own feelings through the telling of my stories. Extraordinary healing was taking place that would have taken so very much longer had I not been afforded the opportunity to unburden myself under the umbrella of “helping others”. Yet at the same time, I was helping others.
It is within our very nature to want to tell our stories, even as it is sometimes frightening to open ourselves to the vulnerability of doing so; but it is only in revealing our true selves through the sharing of our stories that we forge connections with those around us. You never know what gifts someone else will find in your story, or what miracles are awaiting your discovery in theirs. Through listening and understanding each others’ experience, we come to know that we are not alone.
Of the many stories in your own storehouse, can you find an opportunity to share one today and forge a human connection?
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