Tell Your Story! It Can Save Lives – Including Yours!

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Written by Faith Saunders

Like me, many people isolate themselves. We are in silos, living somewhat miserable lives, not realizing that other people have similar stories and together we can start the healing process.

I’m sure you have many experiences that haven’t been shared because of fear of judgement, right? I bet you that every single human being out there has had a story or secret that they kept inside.   Don’t allow shame or fear into your world, tell your story because you could save a life–especially the one you’re living.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  
– Maya Angelou

Wow! Have you read something that just stopped you in your tracks? Well, this is what happened when I came across the above quote by Maya Angelou.    I said  ‘us’. The reason being I know  what this pain feels like personally.    Even sadder, many  people  have been in  this  place so long that it has become a normal state of being that not only impacts them but, their loved ones and other  people they encounter.  What do I mean?

 When we are in emotional agony it impacts our life  in many ways. The  following are just a few:

Personal Impact

  • Unexplained ache and pains
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Social isolation  
  • Substance use including  drinking**
  • Thinking often about death or wishing to be dead
  • Lost of  interest in activities the you usually enjoy
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Indecisiveness  
  • Self blame  

**  Drinking is something to pay special attention to because it is socially accepted and can easily become a habit —  a way to numb our pain that can get out of control.

Impact on Others

  • We treat others disrespectfully, especially people we love.
  • We say hurtful things  
  • We are not authentic in our interactions. Result,  people don’t really get to know us.  

Why Do We Bury Our Story?

 The #1 culprit — SHAME –  Brene Brown defines shame as:  “The intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging — something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.

In her book,  The  Gift of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to be and  Embrace  Who You Are,  Brene goes on to say that our  “shame tapes and gremlins keep us feeling  afraid  and  small.”  For majority of people, the thing(s) that we are ashamed of was done to us and is not due to anything that we have done.

Benefits of Owning Our Story  (as per Brene):

  • “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.”
  • Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

These are 2 very powerful statements!

What I have found is that the more I own my story and share it, the lighter I feel. In addition, other people’s story helps me to have hope. This is empowering by itself. However, for a long time, I kept my story to myself, feeling alone. Like me, many people isolate themselves. We are in silos, living somewhat miserable lives, not realizing that other people have similar stories and together we can start the healing process.

Baby Steps to Take Towards Owning Your Story

  1. Face it and tell  yourself  the  truth –  To numb the pain, we sometimes tell ourselves lies or edit our story.
  2. Forgive –  First it is imperative that you stop being angry and blaming yourself and others! In the long run, you’re  hurting yourself the most because you are losing out on the gift of life.
  3. Get Professional Help –  Sometime we cannot heal on our own. I have found that spending time with someone who can help me to be objective and challenges by dysfunctional beliefs  was worth it. The important thing is that one has  to be willing to do the work and believe me, it can be hard work BUT it is worth it!

Until next time…    THINK POSITIVELY!

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

Your answer

What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

Your answer

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

Your answer.

We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?

Your answer

How often do you take the time out during the day to verbalize what you love about yourself? Do you experience more negative self talk than positive self-talk?

“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)

Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

Your answer

About the author

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Faith Saunders

Faith has a Master’s Degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation from UMDNJ and have over 18 years experience working in various capacities – training, coaching, project development, etc. – with many groups, including women in recovery, teenage mothers, youths and adults with emotional challenges.

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