"Your story matters. It’s unique, it’s powerful, it’s yours. Someone, somewhere needs to hear it."
The weather is turning, the season has officially changed and it's time to reach for the layers. Speaking of layers, how many times do we really let people see the real us behind the many layers and walls that we tend to put up? Some walls are put up because of lack of confidence, others because of fear of getting hurt, maybe they’re in place because we simply don't want someone to see what we classify as a 'weakness'. So what do we do? We hide behind our ‘highlight reel’ instead of showing the real gritty parts of our lives. We keep everyone at an arm's length and we pretend that we’ve got it all together. Hey, I get it. I prefer to show the positive and pretty over the hard and trying times every day of the week. But guess what friends? This way of living helps no one and it leaves us feeling empty.
What the world really needs is a band of women who will peel back the layers. To lean in and show that life isn’t always perfect. That we all face trials and it’s how we overcome them that matters most. Our ability to empathize and love rests on our willingness to be vulnerable.
The beautiful thing is that we then have a choice, we can decide to show some vulnerability OR keep our secrets stored far away. We can continue to fight, to tread the water, to hide or we can make a decision to put the gloves down and let someone in.
In this journey of ‘do I‘ or ‘don’t I‘ I’ve learned three things
01. You are not alone
Every single one of us is walking some sort of journey and, at some point, will face some kind of battle. Life is hard, although my hard will look completely different to yours, we will all face things that challenge us, stretch us and then ultimately strengthen us. A journey isn’t a testimony until it’s shared. Your battle and how you’ve overcome could be the very thing that someone else needs to hear to get them through their situation. When you show your authentic self and tell your story, others don’t feel alone.
02. You have influence
Following on from what I touched on above, you have influence. If you’re a teacher you have precious hearts at the palm of your hand that are looking to you for guidance. If you work in business you may come across stressed out employees that could use a listening ear to combat the pressure they feel. If you’re in entertainment or sports you have a sphere of people who are looking up to you and watching your every move. Whatever the situation might be, you have a circle of influence. You can use the moments of trial or challenge to be vulnerable and inspire those who are watching.
03. We all have a story.
Never downplay your miracle or testimony. This is a tough one for me. Spare me the pity party and listen to my heart. I was born with a life threatening condition called Cystic Fibrosis. I can choose to keep it hidden away or I can choose to share this part of who I am. I can also choose to beat myself up for the things I’m not ticking off my ever ending to do list OR I can choose to view every morning as a miracle and everyday a blessing. My story might be the very thing that causes another to share theirs. It can be the testimony to someone else who might need that extra bit of encouragement to keep going and keep moving. Let me be clear, this verdict that I was given at six months old is not my identity, it’s just part of my story. It’s the very thing that reminds me to make every moment count, the thing that reminds me that life is a precious gift. The beautiful thing is that we all have a story. It's just a choice on whether we choose to view it as an asset to our testimony, a building block to our faith, and if we decide to view it as a means to inspire and encourage others.
Your story matters. It’s unique, it’s powerful, it’s yours. Someone, somewhere needs to hear it. Sure it takes guts, it’s vulnerable and sometimes unnerving, but it could be the very thing to unlock hope and inspire someone else along their journey.
So today, I dare you to let someone in. Put your highlight reel aside and show your real reel. Someone needs to hear where you’ve come from and what you’ve been through, more than you realise.