Maya Angelou said:
“There is no greater tragedy than bearing an untold story inside you.”
If this is so, we’re all walking tragedies, our secret miseries hidden in backpacks so heavy they nearly cripple us.
For example, we hide our scars and the circumstances that made them.
We hide our sufferings and the events that brought them to life.
We hide our wrongdoings and the circumstances surrounding them.
In short, we lock away our most painful, shameful stories because we don’t want the world to think we’re weak or incapable of fixing them.
However, there are other reasons we keep our stories secret.
We live in a society that makes us believe if we only “do this,” “try that,” or swallow the right pills, our problems will magically disappear.
So, when we give our best efforts and still remain broken, we’re ashamed.
Well, let me fill you in on a secret.
Everyone is struggling.
As author Henry David Thoreau said:
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
But the thing is we shouldn’t be quiet.
We should share our stories of anguish. And not only should we share our past stories of pain, but we should also reveal our present stories of sorrow.
Because maybe if we share our stories, we can help someone else heal.
Maybe we can even start to heal ourselves.
- I’m forty-nine, and this mid-life crisis feels like it’s slowly destroying me. I want to be young again. I want the excitement of wondering, “Is he attracted to me?” instead of “What’s for dinner tonight?”
- I’ve searched for validation my whole life, and I wish to God I could stop, but my self-esteem is in the trash.
- I struggle to remember the days before I smoked a pack a day or needed two beers to wind down after work.
- I dream of what it would be like to have a second piece of cake and not feel depressed the rest of the day.
- These last few months have been hell, and I can’t take much more.
- I doubt if my aspirations will ever come true. I work so hard, so, so hard, but nothing I attempt seems to get me closer to my goals.
- Every time I start to get ahead financially, a new bill or problem puts me right back to zero.
- My anxiety is out of control.
What’s your story?
I’m betting my bottom dollar we share a few similar stories. However, I also know that many of our stories are drastically different. So maybe your story is one of the ones below.
- My childhood trauma and suffering continue to control my life.
- I’m hiding my identity from the world because it’s cruel and judgmental. I wear a mask because admitting the truth would be agonizing and unbearable.
- I’ve lost the love of my life. I’m not sure I can carry on.
- I’ve just learned I have cancer, and I’m hopeless and afraid.
- I just discovered my partner was cheating, and I don’t know what to do.
- I love my partner, but I’m not “in love” with them. I feel doomed to a passionless relationship.
- I’m tired of being dismissed because of my age.
- I’m tired of being dismissed because of my sex.
- I’m tired of being dismissed because of my gender.
- I don’t know how I can go on like this? Life holds nothing for me.
- I want my life back. I love my children, but I’ve lost myself in the process of raising them.
- I want the abuse to stop, but I can’t leave because I don’t think I can make it on my own.
- I’m addicted, and I don’t know what to do.
The bottom line:
Author Nyki Mack says:
“Our stories have already been written, only we are not the author. We have no way of knowing what is coming or even how our final chapter will end. We handle our storylines the best way we know how as they present themselves. All we can do is try to leave our marks along the way, our legacy.”
The truth is our stories are our legacy. They’re the most extraordinary gifts we can give to others.
Hopefully, others will learn a lesson from our hardships. But, then again, perhaps they won’t.
Maybe they’ll only see we’re struggling for answers too. Maybe they’ll only be reminded they’re not alone.
But, I’ll tell you what.
Understanding you’re not alone is often the best kind of story.
Because it’s letting someone know if you can keep fighting to write a better chapter in your life, so can they.
And that, my friend, is everything.
So, if you’ve got a story to tell, we need to hear it.
I, for one, am all ears.
This post was previously published on MEDIUM.COM.
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