SHARING STORIES FOR HEALING
Emotional Health Editor
Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW is a registered social worker with a private practice in Cobourg, Ontario. Visit her online at: maureenpollardmsw.com
It’s easy to feel all alone, even when we’re surrounded by people. We may find ourselves wrapped up in our thoughts and feelings at times, full of self-doubt and regret. The more we think about it, the deeper we can sink into the mire of self-hatred.
When you’ve been through something difficult, this is especially true. Maybe you’ve had an illness, or a loss, or you’ve experienced a traumatic event. Whatever your story, the weight of carrying it alone can be crushing.
The truth is, you are not alone. Somewhere, some other human has had a similar experience. Yes, the details are always unique, but the overall situation is comparable. The only way to know this is to be brave; to boldly share your story in the hopes of connecting with others who are living through something like it. Many people begin to share their story as they seek healing, and continue to share their story as they connect it with helping others heal.
"Your story is powerful. You carry so many stories. Through them lies the opportunity for healing your heart and opening the possibility of healing for the hearts of so many others. You are not alone."
Sharing your story makes you vulnerable, though, so here are some suggestions for taking care of yourself as you begin:
Decide what parts of your story you want to share. Maybe you just want to highlight the situation you’ve experienced. (i.e. I was sexually assaulted) or you might be ready to be more specific (i.e. As a teen I was forcefully sexually assaulted by someone I knew and trusted)
Consider who you will trust with your story. Some people begin by telling a trusted friend or family member, while others write publicly about the details of their experience on social media or in a blog.
Be prepared to hear others’ stories. As you share your story, people who have lived through something similar will want to connect with you. If your story resonates, they may want to share their own painful story with you and it may even be the first time they have told someone what happened to them.
Have some information about resources with you. You might carry or memorize the number for Kids Help Phone or another crisis line related to the issue you are exposing with your story. You can offer someone these resources when they need more support than a simple connection with you and your story can provide.
Set boundaries that put your own well-being first. You may well help others by sharing your story, but you are not required to deplete yourself or suffer in order to do so. Be gentle with yourself and firm in your limits in order to preserve energy for your own continued healing.
Your story is powerful. You carry so many stories. Through them lies the opportunity for healing your heart and opening the possibility of healing for the hearts of so many others. You are not alone.