Having the courage to share your own story can not only change your own life, but the lives of those around you.
Not too long ago, I gave a talk at a local college. I have been receiving requests to do more events recently, so I took this opportunity to grow and learn. In the presentation, I shared my personal healing story and spoke of some of my own lessons along the journey—athletics, health, and life as a young adult.
There are certain things that took place during my healing experience that are particularly challenging to talk about. I consider myself so lucky to be able to say with conviction that I have made a complete and happy recovery, but for some reason the most troubling stories are really difficult for me to share.
At this talk, it was one of the first times I really opened up about those specific events; the first time I went into detail about the impact they had on me. I experienced a slight vulnerability hangover after I spoke, wondering what the audience thought. But I realized on a deeper level that I was nothing more or less than my authentic self, and I had nothing to be ashamed of.
Then a miraculous thing happened. A girl in the audience came up to me after I finished and offered me her story. That she has been through something similar. That by hearing my experiences and all that I had to say, she had the courage to do what was necessary to heal herself.
Now as I have maintained contact with this young woman, I realize the power of opening up about these experiences. When we share what we’ve been through—in a constructive manner—we can show others that they are not alone. So many of us go through painful experiences and keep quiet. Or we may think that no one cares or no one could ever understand. Each circumstance is different, no doubt, but it does not mean that there are not some similarities. The similarity may just simply be: I have been through something, too.