Tell Me Your Story

A man and a woman sat in the row in front of me on the plane home. For the next hour I picked up on snippets of their conversation. They bonded at first when they discovered they had both gone skydiving. They shared their experiences as though no one else but the other that had gone through that experience, could possibly understand. The conversation continued and with each story they got deeper and deeper into their connection. The man shared how his daughter had Bi-Polar disorder and refused to get the help she needed. He talked of the pain and fears that come with an adult child struggling through mental illness. The woman shared how she survived on $1,000 a month but how she was happy. She was single, hated children and understood what it was like to struggle with mental illness. They both had a drink, toasted to the skies, got off the plane and stood at the baggage claim on opposite ends, never acknowledging each other again. 

Even amongst strangers we want to be known. And in the sharing of the story, you never know how it will change the other person. But what I find most important is how when you share your story, it changes you. You get a new perspective. You create the language associated with the story. You can be the victim or the survivor. You might be successful or lucky. You get to choose how the story is told. You get to decide if it is told with compassion.

Often at the second session in therapy I will ask a client how they felt after their first session. Responses I hear generally are summed up with "it felt good to share." "It was nice to get it off my chest." It is as if in the telling of the story, there is an exchange of energy where the storyteller because lighter and more free. What a gift to be able to tell your story. Some have no one to listen. Or those that have a listener can feel judged.

Therapy is that space of genuine transformation. You tell, I listen and as the story is told, your life changes. It may be slow at first but months down the road, you don't recognize the old perspectives and language you once used. I would love to hear your story