Think back to a time in your life [high school, college, post-grad or even before high school], when you had a life shaping experience. Everyone has had at least one moment in their life that has changed them forever – your first heartbreak, battling with an eating disorder, losing a close family member or friend. It can also be a less serious more positive experience, but nonetheless life changing – going away to college, studying abroad, finding your dream job or being in a long-term relationship. Whatever the *experience* is that you’re thinking about, understand that you have the ability to change other people’s lives just by speaking out about your story. This doesn’t mean you have to shout from the rooftops [or social media platforms] about every single struggle or change you’ve experienced in life, but it means that when you choose to open up about the stories that have changed your life with other people you could potentially make an impact in their lives.
When people have a *negative* story they believe it isn’t worth telling people + can be ashamed to speak about their struggle, but these are the most powerful stories that can be shared. When people have a story that isn’t a *deep* story they believe their story isn’t worth telling people because they think *who could my story help?* But understand no matter the label that society puts on your story [*good, bad, ugly*], being open with others gives hope to those people dealing with the same things you have dealt with in the past, or currently dealing with. You can + will change someone you share your story with.
Here are a 3 ways to help you get used to sharing your personal story.
1] BE INTENTIONAL
*Say what you mean + mean what you say!* Don’t sugarcoat your story, if it’s not meant to be sugarcoated. Being intentional in what you say + meaning every word shows the courage you have to share your experiences. It demonstrates your strength to believe in something so much you want to share it with others.
2] BE HUMBLE + HONEST
When sharing your story with others be humble – you never know what the person next to you is dealing with. If you share an elaborate story about how you crushed the interview for your dream job + knew they were going to hire you immediately, that isn’t going to help anyone else feel connected to your story, if that’s your goal. Start simple + if people around are interested in hearing more they will ask [see point #3]. Maybe deep-down you thought you could have answered the questions better + you struggle with interviews, but you got hired for your dream job – this would be a much more honest approach. Your story could give the person next to you the courage to apply for their dream job if they share the same nerves while interviewing.
3] BE OPEN + VULNERABLE
Being open + vulnerable is the most important part about telling your story. Today so many girls are taught that showing emotion = weakness + bottle up their emotions. This stereotypical connotation with showing emotion could not be further from truth. Showing weakness is the ultimate characteristic of strength. Showing your weaknesses or vulnerabilities will motivate others to become stronger in areas of their lives where they struggle.
Sharing your story can be difficult in all aspects, but think of a time when someone [a parent, friend or family member] shared a vulnerable part of their story with you. How did it impact you? If you’re thinking of a specific situation – the answer is likely yes. Know that your voice has the ability to impact other’s lives the way yours has been forever changed by another person’s story. There are other CHAARGies in our community that are probably dealing with something you may have dealt with 5 years, 1 year or 6 months ago. Your story matters, especially to the girls who need the motivation to tell theirs.
++Delaney [@delaney_inchaarg] // UC CHAARG