If two people were to either praise you or criticize you, whom would you believe more?
For every 10 great things you praise me for, I promise you I will mainly be thinking about the 1 negative thing you said about me.
Part of this comes from my upbringing and conditioning. Most of us were taught not to get too full of ourselves and that it was better to be humble. We were taught to listen and follow directions even when we intuitively feel like we should be choosing a different path.
We learned that the shortest and safest route was best, and not necessarily the one that truly fulfills us. I believe we were meant to step into the wild from time to time, to make a left instead of a right so that we can immerse ourselves in all things human. This includes everything on the spectrum of experience from disappointment to delight, hunger to satiated, outrage to love... and so on.
But it can be scary to operate without instructions.
I believe that we are meant to dive into life and to share our experiences through storytelling so that the people that interact with us learn about who we are and what we've learned along the way.
Stories are the maps for navigating our lives. Click to tweet.
Let me give you an example.
My best friend lives in another State and we email each other frequently, several times a month.
Our exchanges are a chance to share our lives with each other in ways that feel totally safe. If I’m troubled about a situation, I need to hear that she has been through something similar and vice versa. I want to know that I'm not alone.
Often, when I’m relating my experience to her I’ll start with “Remember when I was going through….”. That’s the beginning of a story.
My friend Diana and I share our written maps with each other, overlaying them on top of each other to see how they match up (or don’t) so we can recalibrate the best path forward. We help each other out and teach each other to watch out for pitfalls or dangerous territory or give reassurance that the hardest part is nearly over.
I’ve learned so much from exchanging stories. The journey is made less lonely, less confusing and less strange.
This is why YOUR story matters. You have a map that others can benefit from. It won’t ever be like someone else’s map but that’s the point. We each carry a piece of the human experience and each story reveals alternate paths to take so that we can hopefully navigate our lives with as much knowledge and grace as possible.
We’ll all stumble from time to time, that’s part of the journey. Someone else has a map for that.
So share your stories, swap them with your best friends or people that you meet. Show them the maps you’ve accumulated along the way.
It may be just the thing they’ve needed all along.
Yours in story,
P.S. I'm excited to be teaching a FREE tele-class: Storytelling: The Power of Connection on December 9.
You can sign up right here.There will be a replay.