One of the most amazing accomplishments a person can make is the act of embracing their personal stories.
One of my favorite parts of Medium is the availability of personal stories you can find. These stories cover a vast range of personalities, lifestyles, and experiences.
You can find authors ranging from an outgoing, extraverted professor to a thoughtful, introverted mother. Each of their stories provides a brief look into what it’s like to live the life of another person. Within many stories, you can find amazing experiences deserving of their own book.
In this article, I’d like to cover a few of the reasons why I think it’s important to embrace the role of our personal stories.
Everyone Has a Unique Viewpoint
I always find it fascinating to think that each of us is thinking a different set of thoughts, focusing on different objects, and seeing the world in completely different ways every single day. You will never fully know what someone else is thinking and they will never fully know what you are thinking. That’s mind-blowing!
If I said “imagine you’re walking down the street”, most of us would create a completely different mental image of that street. Within that image, we would also focus on different things. Some will choose to focus on the sidewalk, if there is one. Others will focus on their feet, a nearby house, or a car speeding down the street.
Each of these is a different perspective. In our stories, we speak from whatever perspective we have chosen.
It’s interesting to experience an event yourself and then read another person’s experience of that same event. Maybe you enjoyed it and they didn’t, you were focused on who was winning the game and they were watching the fans’ reactions.
Each of us fixates on certain parts of each experience and sometimes you’ll find that others focused on something surprising or seemingly unimportant. You watched the same thing, but your story of what happened is completely different.
Through reading their story, you get to explore different ways to approach the events in your life.
Everyone Has a Valid Opinion
I’m a firm believer that every person roaming this planet has a valid opinion on the topics they feel to be important. Everything we are a part of has a bit of uncertainty to it. Even with the advancements in science and technology, we cannot be sure things are exactly how we believe them to be. In this light, the opinions of others can be a vital part of our learning and shaping our beliefs.
Other people’s personal stories can also bring us insights about our life. We can look at their beliefs and how they perceive the world. This allows us to develop a greater sense of empathy towards them. We may even identify with parts of their story, allowing us to get a better sense of ourselves.
Through observing and trying to understand each other’s viewpoints, we can all develop a deeper appreciation for the similarities and differences in our lives. This understanding is the first step in creating a community of love and compassion, but we usually have to show some form of vulnerability first.
Sharing Our Own Personal Story Can Be a Part of Healing
Sharing a personal story, under the right circumstances, can bring us a sense of comfort and healing that we may have been missing. Personal stories are how we make sense of the world around us.
They help us decide whether something is good or bad, whether it’s worth the effort or not, and whether we can reach it or not. These stories can allow us to do things we never thought possible or they can create a boundary between ourselves and a life we enjoy.
Through sharing our personal stories we also get a greater sense of whether those stories are helping or hurting us. Writing them down forces us to reflect on the stories and what actions they may have caused us to take.
Sometimes we miss certain consequences of our stories. We might not be consciously aware of how the story of a near-accident often leads us to avoid risks and created our overwhelming fear of driving. Each story we create changes how we perceive other things in our life. Sharing these stories might allow us to stumble upon some self-discoveries we missed along the way.
We also have the ability to connect with others through our personal story. Occasionally, someone will have faced the same challenges. These people understand what it feels like to overcome those challenges or experience those triumphs.
These people can provide us with our fundamental need to experience events with others. They let us know that at least one person truly understands our story. Through this person, we have a chance to either perceive our story in a different way or gain a sense of comfort in knowing that we are not alone in our challenges.
This story could be the start of an amazing relationship or a pivotal moment in our journey.
Our personal stories shape our lives. If we want to get the most out of them, we have to learn to embrace the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Life is filled with ups and downs, our stories are the constants that allow us to be even-keeled throughout these triumphs and failures.
Through sharing these stories we can reaffirm our belief in ourselves and hopefully help those around us in a meaningful way.