The Healing Power of Telling Your Story
The strength in storytelling
Posted November 27, 2012
One of the reasons I began blogging is because I had a story to tell, one I intended to live out loud, on a public stage, recording along the way the journey of how I had lost my mojo and how I would get it back. Making this one decision to tell my story transformed my life forever.
Since then, I’ve been telling my story while inviting other bloggers in the Owning Pink community to tell theirs and inviting readers to share their stories in the comments and on the Owning Pink forum.
I was also given the chance to tell my story when my friend Christine Bronstein, founder of A Band Of Wives, invited me to contribute to a book she was compiling called Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God, a book of personal revelations told by 51 women who hold nothing back. (You can read my review of the book here).
If you’ve been longing to tell your story, feeling like you’ve got a song in you that’s yet unsung, Christine and I have good news for you! Because Christine so believes in the healing power of telling your story and sharing it with the world, she has created an opportunity I’m so solidly behind that I agreed to help spread the word.
The My Story Project
If you’re interested in being one of the storytelling voices in Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God and having your story published alongside many other fearless women unapologetically telling their stories, I invite you to participate in My Story, a customized version of Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God: 51 Women Reveal the Power of Positive Female Connection, where you (or if you’re a guy, the women in your life) can go online at nothingbutthetruth.com and enter your own story (up to 2,000 words) and art, and your story will become the last chapter of a customized version of the book. (Woot! Check that off your bucket list. You’ll be a published author!)
The My Story project gives you an opportunity to flex your voice, have your story witnessed, see yourself in print, and create a book with your own story of positive female connection in a book with other awesome female authors.
Because telling your story—while being witnessed with loving attention by others who care—may be the most powerful medicine on earth. Each us is a constantly unfolding narrative, a hero in a novel no one else can write. And yet so many of us leave our stories untold, our songs unsung—and when this happens, we wind up feeling lonely, listless, out of touch with our life’s purpose, plagued with a chronic sense that something is out of alignment. We may even wind up feeling unworthy, unloved, or sick.
Every time you tell your story and someone else who cares bears witness to it, you turn off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and flipping on relaxation responses that release healing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, nitric oxide, and endorphins. Not only does this turn on the body’s innate self-repair mechanisms and function as preventative medicine—or treatment if you’re sick. It also relaxes your nervous system and helps heal your mind of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and feelings of disconnection.
You Are Not Alone
If I could sum up everything I’ve learned from over four years of blogging, it would boil down to one thing—you are not alone.
So many of us are tormented by the insane idea that we’re separate, disconnected beings suffering all by our little lonesome selves. I say this from experience. That’s exactly how I felt when I started blogging, as if I was the only one in the whole wide world who had lost her mojo and longed to get it back. Then I started telling my story—and voila! Millions of people showed to tell me they had lost their mojo too—or even more inspiring, that they had once lost theirs and since gotten it back.
How had they gotten their mojo back? By telling their story.
The Power of Storytelling
When we tell our stories and others bear witness, the notion that we are disconnected beings suffering alone dissolves under the weight of evidence that this whole concept is merely an illusion and that millions of others are suffering just like us. They say misery loves company, and it’s true! The minute you discover that someone else is suffering just like you—or even better, that they’re celebrating their wholeness just like you—that sense of disconnection eases and you start to glimpse the truth—that we are beings of vibrating energy, connected on the energy internet through processes like quantum entanglement, with overlapping consciousness that connects us to a divine Source and to the Inner Pilot Light of every being on this planet (and perhaps others.)
The Power of Vulnerability
In order to benefit fully from the healing medicine of telling your story, you must resist holding anything back. You must strip off your masks, be unapologetically you, ditch worrying about what “everybody” is going to think, and let your glorious freak flag fly. Otherwise, your story becomes a watered down, milk toast version of who you are.
As Brené Brown teaches in her TEDx talk The Power Of Vulnerability, the gateway to intimacy is via being vulnerable about your imperfections. If you try to sugar coat your story, you miss out on the sense of connection with another human being that you can only attain when you’re letting someone see your warts and your big ugly tail. Every time you expose those imperfections—and someone loves you in spite of—even because of—those imperfections, you gain trust (or as Brené calls it, you “put marbles in the jar”). Over time, the intimacy you feel with other people depends on how many marbles are in your jar.
You Ready To Tell Your Story?
We all have within us a story to tell, a song yet unsung. Is it time for you to tell your story? Click here to get started.
Or tell us your story here in the comments.
Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.