It’s important to share our life story. And it’s equally important to do in a way that is a catalyst for healing and encouraging others. Learn how to do it and how it can help your growth.
5 Reasons to Share Your Life Story
- Sharing your life story as a Survivor. You show people with similar life events how you moved from victim to survivor. If you can do it, others can too. Telling your story from the perspective of a survivor is a powerful healer and motivator.
- A way of identifying and memorializing lessons of wisdom.
Sharing your story from your current perspective is a smart tactic. It helps you distance yourself from past trauma. And, it also reminders you of your victories.
- Sharing builds trust. Your life story can create a community that helps others understand you better, and this builds mutual trust.
- This is a courage builder. It also bolsters self-confidence and self-compassion.
1) Sharing your Life Story as a Survivor
It is easy to get stuck in a victim mentality when you suffer emotional trauma. It takes hard inner work to deal with the memories. Sometimes there are lifelong physical scars and disabilities. The greater the impact of the trauma, the more it will take to move from living as a victim to living as a survivor. Many people need professional help to make this transition.
Sharing your life story is a powerful and practical way to bring healing to others. That is if you do so in a way that is non-judgmental, non-blaming, non-victimizing. This is the perspective of the “Survivor.”
Telling others the strategies and tactics you’ve tried helps them to see what lies ahead. Be honest about which ones worked and which ones did not. It is all right to talk about your feelings. But be careful not to get caught up in reliving the negative aspects from the point of the victim.
Instead, see if you can frame your life story from the point of the survivor ― one that has overcome healed (at least to some extent). Highlight the learning you gained from the experience. Telling your life story from this vantage point will facilitate others to open up their hearts and minds to learn from your experiences. This is one of the main reasons to share your life story.
2) Identify Lessons of Wisdom
Whatever the lessons, others can benefit from your Eureka moments. And it certainly doesn’t hurt you to keep these lessons in the forefront. One of the reasons to share your life story is self-refection.
3) Sharing Your Life Story For Perspective
Talking about trauma can be a way of creating distance. You are not ignoring the incident or situation; you are putting in perspective. You are now a survivor.
4) Sharing Builds Trust
When you share the details of your life story, it helps to build trust and community. Vulnerability is the key. They can sense if you are speaking from the perspective of a survivor or victim. People will trust those who show they have walked the same path and emerge as a victor and survivor.
5) A Courage Builder
Sharing the details of your life story takes courage. It makes you vulnerable which increases your self-confidence and self-compassion. Courage is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets. But, you must face the resistance of fear. When others see you do this it helps them find the courage to move from victim to survivor.
Sharing is only half of the exchange. Once you share you need to listen to the life stories of others. If you only lift yourself, your task is only half done.
One of the main reasons to share your life story is to give others the courage to share. After you have shared your life story in this non-judgmental way, it opens the doors for others to share where they are in their journey. This is where active listening is imperative.
- Give them your full undivided attention.
- Refrain from providing advice.
- Show your concern with non-verbal cues (head nodding, open posture, lean forward).
- Paraphrasing is good but don’t overuse it
- Brief affirmations or agreements like, I see, I know, Sure, or I understand. But, be careful with I understand. Only use it if you have a similar life story experience.
- When appropriate, it’s okay to ask questions to clarify.
If they get hung up on being the victim, blaming others, or becoming judgmental don’t judge them. At the same time, you must guard against enabling or encouraging them in these thought patterns. This is because this leads to corrosive and self-destructive thought patterns. In turn, this prevents them from learning or healing from undesirable experiences.
When their sharing gets sidetracked, you can use phrases to guide them away from the victim mentality. Don’t invalidate their current feelings, but at the same time use phrasing like, “I hear what you are saying. How would you tell this part of your life story to someone to help guide them to a place of healing? Or, “How could you use this part of your life story to help a child or adolescent that may have had a similar life story?
We use a quote to help put things in perspective.
“Live long and prosper.” ― Leonard Nimoy as Spock on StarTrek
What if Re-Directing Doesn’t Work?
If you encounter someone who doesn’t respond to re-directing or reforming their life story, don’t force it. Take a completely different approach from dealing directly with their past. People often need grounding to heal or deal with past situations. If someone identifies with the role of the victim, they need to find the path of healing.
So, we recommend having them learn to ground and center first. This will provide the basis they need to be able to truly reform their life story. There are several spiritual technologies everyone can use for grounding and centering.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia