Life

What Would Happen if Your Story isn’t Told?

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I almost quit this week.

When I say quit, I mean writing. I gave myself all sorts of excuses:

I’m better at speaking…
Can my writing even have an impact?
Am I actually going to say anything that hasn’t already been said?

And the most defeating one:
Who am I to speak?

And while I’m not beating myself up for thinking it, I am scolding myself for almost succumbing to it.

Why do I not feel my voice is worth sharing? Why do I doubt the message that wants to come out? Why do I not realize my own power?

This constant question is that bit of self-doubt that creeps forward in us all… Who am I to _____? It’s easier to advise than to ask for help. We can give perspective, but it’s hard to take it from ourselves. Our insecurity mutes us, and we submit to the notion that we are not good enough. By caring so much about what others think when we speak, we do anything to avoid that feeling of sounding stupid.

We gawk and awe at the others we’ve placed on a pedestal and aspire to be like. Our admiration for brilliance makes us feel inadequate, resulting in our own paralysis. We create a gap between them and ourselves and tell ourselves we’re not enough.

We don’t have enough intel to realize that we all feel that way at some point. The fear exists in all us… But some of us choose to do it anyway.

Why is your story worth telling?

Because…
If you don’t do it, someone might not hear it.
What if they don’t hear it and you could have told them?
Whose life could you have changed that you didn’t because you thought your story didn’t matter?

We begin to feel insignificant and discouraged with the amount of content out there. It can be defeating and overwhelming to rummage through it all and find our way to stand out. We wonder how on earth we can make an impact.

But our stories and revelations come from our felt and lived experiences. Those unique events in our lives sculpt the type of story we tell and the place we’re able to tell it from. Our perspectives are influenced by our environments, our joys, our trials, and how those all intersect. Your synthesized story may be the one that finally breaks through to someone. Your essence, your nuances, your remix… Your voice makes your story beautiful. You give it meaning and bring it to life.

In an amazing soul conversation with my one of oldest, dearest friends at a coffee shop, I had the privilege of catching up with his life story I had missed out on over the past handful of years. As he talked of coming to terms with his true self and sexuality, I had an opportunity to engage in an emotional experience I would never have been able to without his story. I wanted to know; how did it feel to share, how did others react, how has that changed him, what was it like to connect with his truth?

It was at that point I realized why we all MUST share. Each of us has our own challenges that have brought us to this point and have beautifully crafted who we are. We go through these struggles, not just for ourselves, but for others. We go through pain, heartache, and difficulty so we can extract the lessons and what it’s meant to give us so that others don’t have to go through them to receive that lesson. In turn, we share these connected dots as our contribution to the world.

While our numbered heartbeats will not allow us to experience every event or emotion, our tribes allow us to learn and connect gifting us an extension to living through their experiences. We discover other parts of this world and experience things we couldn’t fully understand because our lens wouldn’t be able to give us the right perspective.

Through others, we can more fully live.

I realize some of my pain I’ve endured wasn’t about what it needed to teach me, but about how my views of the world and my twist could shape that perspective so I could teach that to the others that needed it from me. I went through it so they didn’t have to in order to learn what I’ve learned. It is my legacy to impart in the world.

What if the people who have inspired me decided their story hadn’t been worth sharing, that their viewpoints were just redundant… What would I have missed out on? I’m thankful they didn’t let their inner voice say no. I’m glad no one let them quit.

I can’t quit. You can’t quit either.

What would happen if your story isn’t told?

byq-writing-boxHave you felt this way? Is there an inner voice that’s held you back?
Check out a book I co-authored with a gifted group of writers, Before You Quit Writing, Read This.

Find my chapter: “Write to Create Your Own Mirror”.
Download from the Kindle Store today.

10 comments

  1. Jean. As always, spot on. I have a couple thoughts (and have been thinking about this not only a lot lately – but a lot since I first decided to start sharing my words with the world).

    1. On Comparison. Thinking that no matter how fast we run – no matter how much we write – no matter how much money we make or how much fame we achieve, we’ll never keep up with the world around us. So we give up and burn out. Comparison is the thief of creativity.

    2. On trying to be unique. What I mean by this, as it comes to writing, is that we tell ourselves “someone else has already said this/done this, so why should I?” – And it’s true, very few ideas are entirely brand spankin’ new nowadays. But what makes it unique is YOUR unique voice. And if everyone decided that what they had to say had already been said – there wouldn’t be a helluva lot being said.

    3. On impact. I know what’s held me back is the thought that no one gives a damn about what I have to say – or that not ENOUGH people will care what I have to say. But what I’ve learned is that for all the people who don’t care, if there’s one – even ONE that does, then I’ve done something to be proud of. I’ve had an impact. I write for myself – but in a way that I hope will resonate with others. If I get one email, one comment, one person saying, “thanks”….then isn’t that what matters? Isn’t that all the validation we need?

    Everyone’s story IS worth telling and through others we CAN more fully live – and discover more about ourselves.

    Don’t quit, Jean. Don’t even consider it. What you have to say matters – what each of us has to say matters. For anyone who may doubt that about themselves – I’d direct them right back here to this article so they can be reminded that the world deserves to hear what they have to say.

    1. Matt, thank you for ALL that. I kind of want to publish this as a post extension. 😉

      And YOU are a brilliant writer, so thank you for never giving up and continuing to share your awesomeness with the world… We’re all better for it.

  2. Jean, I really appreciated reading this today, so thank you. I so often catch myself going to Compare and Despair Land, especially as I meet so many incredible, dynamic, talented people such as yourself. It’s so true, however, that our voice and our experience are always unique.

    Thanks – I needed that today.

    (BTW, while it is true that you’re a wonderful speaker, your way with the written word is just as impressive. Don’t stop. Ever.)

    1. Mary Beth, it’s the flip side of bringing amazing people into your life, right? Instead of empowering, the comparison can make us feel inadequate. It’s a reminder I keep giving myself and knew it was worth sharing. 🙂

      And thank you so much for saying that and for reaching out.

      There are some amazing things to come from you… I KNOW it.

  3. Jean, literally this morning I was thinking why do I want to make a blog, paint, or do photography. “Theres nothing new I have to say” “Who am I to think I can be as good as …”. And this has just helped me so much this morning. Your right, we all have things to offer and no two experiences are the same. Thank you for reminding me that while I love reading awesome blogs and others experiences, I have some awesome stories to tell myself.

    1. Liz! There probably isn’t a single soul out there that hasn’t thought that… We all get in our own heads of self-doubt and scrutiny, and remembering our unique lived experiences give our stories a special spin is something I use to help keep me going. And if I have a way to reach an extra person who didn’t hear the message, I made an impact. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear your stories!

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