When we go through a difficult situation, several things happen. It makes us stronger. It gives us perspective. It adds to our story. It attracts other people to hear how we went through what we went through.
I used to volunteer at a soup kitchen many years ago. The coordinator, Jean Harris, told me this once:
“If you can talk about it, you’re done with it. If you can’t talk about it, you’re not done with it yet.”
There are many…sensitive things from my life I can talk about now because I’m done with it. I once was depressed, suicidal, a cheater, a porn addict, etc. God and therapy brought me through those things and more. I learned what I needed to learn and can talk about it because I’m done with it. There are other things that are still a bit too personal to talk about, yet.
Am I saying tell people all of the personal things you have done or gone through? No way! We have to use wisdom and at times, discretion. What I’m saying is when we do talk to someone or a group of people and share our stories, it conveys hope to others by saying, “I made it through this, you can too.”
Consider Jared Fogle. When Jared was in college, he wore 60 inch waist jeans and weighed 425 pounds. Jared began an unconventional diet of eating Subway subs exclusively. Jared, over the course of his college career, lost 245 pounds. Through a series of events that happened after he told his story to his college newspaper, Jared was: featured in Men’s Health magazine, hired by Subway as a spokesman, featured in several commercials, was in the movie Supersize Me (2004), and finished the New York Marathon Nov. 2010. You can see more of his story and the story of people he inspired here.
When I hear other people’s stories, it motivates me more than anything else. More than a lecture, sermon or a power point presentation. That pain is there, that wound is still mending, but when we share our stories, it signals we are healing and can give hope to other people.
You may think your story isn’t that great or inspiring, but I bet it is to someone else. Perhaps you’re not ready to share aspects of your life, that is perfectly fine. I will say from personal experience that talking about it is crucial to the healing process. Find someone you trust. You are not alone, you are loved and loveable. You can have hope!
May peace be with you, may peace be multiplied. [And a special shout-out to to all the moms of the world!] [This is Part V in a Seven Part Limited Series called “Weaponized Emotions”] [photo by Bohman]