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
First a quick summary of these five reasons, then the details.
1) Sharing your life story as a Survivor and Thriver. 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. Even better if you can show how you learned how to thrive.
2) As a way of identifying and memorializing lessons of wisdom.
4) Sharing builds trust. Your life story can create a community that helps others understand you better, and this builds mutual trust.
5) This is a courage builder. It also bolsters self-confidence and self-compassion.
Sharing Your Life Story
Now for the details of these five reasons:
1) Sharing as a Survivor And Thriver
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.
The step from survivor to thriving is another shift in both attitude and action. You can learn to thrive in any environment if you have the proper knowledge and skills. This requires research and work. If you’ve made it this far explain how you found out what works.
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 major reasons to share your life story.
2) Identify Lessons of Wisdom
There are often several benchmark lessons on the path from victim to survivor. Sometimes it’s about thriving where you are or learning to let go. Here are some examples. First, avoid comparison. Second, learn to overcome decision paralysis. Third, grasp the healing aspect of sharing. And fourth, learn how to observe your thoughts without judgment.
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 and possibly a thriver.
It’s important here not to fall back into the negative emotions of past events. Keep your mind in the present. Emphasize life from healthy mindset. Don’t allow skepticism to become cynicism.
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 someone who is thriving and surviving.
People will trust those who show they have walked the same path and emerge as a victor. Be aware that people who are vulnerable may also attract those who are unhealthy. Make sure you share your story but don’t involve yourself as a counselor. If someone needs personal attention, let them know you will refer them to someone who can provide that level of advice.
5) A Courage Builder
Sharing the details of your life story takes courage. Sharing your heart makes you vulnerable. Doing this will increase 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.
So, sharing is a courage builder that will help you face other challenges. As it opens your heart, you may find it draws you to act. Positive activism is born out of an open heart. But the heart does not act alone. Your awareness will also expand. That is why you feel obligated to act.
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.
Use Active Listening Skills
One of the principal 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. Again, listen but do not counsel.
- 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 the term, 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 change their life story. There are several spiritual technologies everyone can use for grounding and centering.
We call the methods for exploring consciousness spiritual technologies. We use these processes to explore the depth of human awareness. Awareness is a term synonymous with spirit.
These methods are proven tools of consciousness exploration. They can stand up to the rigorous test of science. These methods are repeatable processes. We can measure their unique physiological effects. These changes show states of consciousness different from waking, dreaming and sleeping. They also have common experiential elements. Anyone can use them, all you need to do is follow the process. They do not the belief or faith in any religious doctrine.
We divide these tools into four categories:
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tool
Using these tools will help you make positive changes in your awareness. And they will become of your life story.
We hope you found this article helpful, maybe even thought-provoking. You will find more interesting posts on our blog page. Use the “search” option on the blog page to find articles by key terms, topics, or category.
Does spiritual exploration interest you? If so, we offer both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. We use a blended learning process to get the best learning outcomes. This blended approach aligns with what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia