When we think of stories, we think of a beginning, middle and end. We add characters, a place, certain situations, dilemmas and a lesson, and we have a well-rounded story. When stories are shared (aka storytelling) they can educate, inspire and entertain because we recognize how others have failed, coped and succeeded. I remember the first time I heard Oprah’s story — to say I was moved would be an understatement. Her vulnerability, her openness and her honesty shattered me to my core.
You see, with storytelling, we show a willingness to communicate—more importantly, a willingness to connect. We allow ourselves to identify with other realities and recognize patterns in our own lives. Stories help us make sense of the world because we find similar arcs in our own lives. This gives us validation, comfort and connectedness which is satisfying. This is what makes storytelling so powerful. Although, I don’t understand what Oprah has gone through, I can relate to her struggle with self-worth and tackling adult issues at a very young age. Hearing her articulate her pain and how she overcame adversity allowed me to see my own struggles in an entirely different way.
When we dig deep and identify our thoughts and feelings, we have a perspective, the lens in which we see the world. This perspective leads to your narrative, the story you tell yourself. I’ve had to take a long hard look in the mirror, take inventory of where my life was, and realize that the story I was telling myself is that struggle was necessary to achieve anything. I probably don’t have to tell you, but i essentially only attracted more struggle to validate myself — I was getting my self worth from overcoming obstacles. Overcoming tragedy was my badge of honor. Tough moment, let me tell you. BUT, this was the beginning of the rest of my life. If I change the narrative, I take a huge step towards enlightenment and this all begins with fearlessly owning your story.