On telling my story.

“Our stories are not meant for everyone.  Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves before we share:  ‘Who has earned the right to hear my story?’  If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky.  If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.”  – Brené Brown

I recently shared part of my story about a specific series of events with someone.  I don’t believe that she fully received it, and afterward, I remembered this quote.  Did she earn the right to hear my story?  I’m not sure, but I still believe that it was important for me to share my perspective.  Not everyone is going to receive, hear, or understand my story.  It doesn’t feel good when people dismiss it.  I don’t expect everyone – even those I trust – to agree with my perspective.  And I can still claim the right to express it.

But those who have earned the right to hear my story – those who can hold and space for me, and with me – those are the people I want at my side.  They are the people I can trust and be vulnerable with.  I want to hold space for them as well.

When someone does not listen to or receive what I have to say, I often experience a sense of isolation, of alienation, of rejection.  Sometimes they will start telling the story as they see it (which may include their interpretation of my actions and behavior), and then I feel even more disconnected.

Then I have to remind myself that no matter what, my story and my experiences are mine.  I have people in my life who acknowledge and appreciate that.  There is always room for me to gain more perspective on myself and how I experience situations in my life.  In the end, though, it’s incredibly important that I acknowledge and validate my own story.

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