It’s important to share the story of life with others. It’s equally important to share it in a way that is a catalyst for healing and encouragement. Learn how to do it and how it can help your growth.
Your Life Story
Before we jump into the 5 great reasons for sharing about yourself, let’s look at how to craft a compelling story with a positive purpose. Ideally, we want to share so that others can learn and be inspired. We are not doing this to get sympathy.
First, start with specific goals or points for your discussion. The narrative of the story should reveal the lessons learned. Are you trying to make a point, or are you trying to help someone through a similar situation?
Make sure you can complete your talk or discussion in the time allotted. The most common reason for failing to meet the talk’s goals is underestimating the time it will take. Make sure you have time for questions.
Stay on track. Don’t go down a rabbit trail. The second reason a talk doesn’t meet its goals is getting off track. If you get questions off-topic, have a strategy to handle them. If you are working one-on-one, people may ask questions to get you off-topic. If you are talking in front of a group, have a parking lot to answer those questions at the end if you have time. Or, talk with them afterward.
Know your audience. Share the appropriate level of details and feeling targeted for your audience. We need to tailor this narrative to be suitable for our listener or audience. For example, if we talk to a close friend, we may share more details than we would when we share in front of a group. There are five great reasons or guiding principles which will help you craft the most compelling narrative.
5 Great Reasons for Sharing Your Life Story
Here’s a quick summary of these guiding principles or reasons.
1) Sharing your 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 a survivor’s perspective 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. The story of your life can create a community that helps others understand you better, building 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 more significant the trauma’s impact, 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 attitude and action. You can learn to thrive in any environment if you have the proper knowledge and skills. However, it does require 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 heal others. That is, if you do so in a way that is non-judgmental, non-blaming, non-victimizing. These are the traits of the “Survivor.”
Telling others the strategies and tactics you’ve tried helps them 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 victim’s perspective.
Instead, see if you can frame your story from the perspective of a survivor ― one that has overcome healed (to some extent). Highlight the lessons you gained from your life experience. Telling your life events from this vantage point will facilitate others to open up their hearts and minds to learn from your experiences. This is one of the 5 great reasons for sharing 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 doesn’t hurt you to keep these lessons at the forefront. Another one of the primary reasons for sharing your life events is for your self-reflection.
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 it in perspective. You are now a survivor and possibly a thriver.
It’s crucial here not to fall back into past events’ negative emotions. Keep your mind in the present. Emphasize life from a healthy mindset. Don’t allow skepticism to become cynicism.
4) Sharing Builds Trust
When you share your life story’s details, 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 vulnerable people 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. However, you’ll need to 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 others’ life stories. If you only lift yourself, your task is only half done. This is the last of the 5 great reasons for sharing, but not the least.
Use Active Listening Skills
One of the principal reasons to share your life story is to give others the courage to share. Communicating in a non-judgmental way 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 the person your full undivided attention.
- Refrain from advising.
- 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. However, 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 because this leads to corrosive and self-destructive thought patterns. In turn, this prevents them from learning or healing from unpleasant 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 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 story to help a child or adolescent that may have had similar life events?
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 fresh approach from dealing directly with their past. People often need grounding to heal or deal with past situations. If someone identifies with the victim’s role, they need to find the path of healing.
So, we recommend having them learn to ground and center first. This will provide the basis people need to change their life direction. There are several spiritual technologies everyone can use for grounding and centering.
Spiritual technologies are methods for exploring human consciousness. These methods come to us from cultures worldwide, and they comprise a diverse body of practical mental tools. You can use these tools to develop your potential, open spiritual gifts, expand awareness, and reach higher states of consciousness.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning method. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. The techniques we use are repeatable processes, and several produce measurable effects on our physiology. These changes include increased brainwave coherence, lower heart rate, and increased skin resistance. These changes prove these techniques produce states of consciousness that differ significantly from waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
Anyone can use these processes to develop their full potential. They do not require faith or belief in any religious doctrine. All you need to do is follow the process, and it’s just like following the recipe for baking a cake. If you combine the right ingredients in the right way and you get something delicious.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone has their unique path of self-development, and you can start with any of these methods. The more of them you use, the faster your progress.
We hope these 5 great reasons for sharing your life story inspire you to try it yourself.
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Does spiritual exploration interest you? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (1). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission.
(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia