For a long time, I used to keep my mouth shut. I stayed out of the limelight in the company of friends and would often let others do the talking. This is something that went on for years. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was subconsciously devaluing my own story.
I had a lot to say, but I never felt I had the space to express it in. I let myself shrink.
It’s only been very recently that I’ve experienced a big shift. I’ve allowed myself to step into the limelight and make myself heard. A lot has happened to get me to this point. It wasn’t an overnight awakening.
Since owning my own story, I’ve been more aware of how apologetic we often are when it comes to expressing ourselves. It’s as though we need to make an excuse, in case the other person doesn’t consider us worthy enough of being listened to.
Whenever I come across someone who apologises to me before they’ve shared anything, I think back to the time I kept my mouth shut and realise: that used to be me.
Here’s what we often overlook when we are busy judging ourselves. Our stories are universally entwined. The enormity of our experiences – regardless of our circumstances, upbringing or choices in life, have the most synchronised patterning. Chances are what you are about to say, is going to have a massive effect on the person listening, because more often than not, without even being aware of it, we are holding up a mirror to oneanother.
It’s not just that I am more willing to speak up now, it is also that I have become louder in my expression. I am wanting to be heard. Our stories need to be heard. I no longer apologise about what I’m about to say.
My most powerful exchanges with others have been when I have allowed myself to be completely vulnerable and shared experiences that have caused big emotional disruptions in my life. So often, my story is met with a knowing gaze or a silent nod of the head, then, typically, the exact same story is echoed back from the other person, about a similar time, event or happening.
Don’t underestimate the value and power of your story. Chances are the person you are passing on the street has a similar narrative to yours. If only we gave eachother more time, the impact of listening to oneanother would be the catalyst for gifting us richer human connections.
Happy travels, Paula x
p.s: For those aspiring storytellers, this Sunday is the launch of our very special Inspiring Your Creative Flair: Photography & Writing Workshop. Learn all about using the power of your story to be a confident and impactful communicator to your audience through your images and words. More HERE or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org