Most of the time, the “Your Story Matters” phrase is something I tell people who want to write their story but are afraid to start. They might be afraid of judgment (more on this later about what assessment-driven writing is doing to the minds of our future generations), upsetting loved ones or family members, or no one caring about what they have to say.
None of these holds any weight of credibility. 1, you are not writing this for a grade; 2, you get to choose the audience (and sometimes we write just for ourselves at first); and 3, you never know who needs to read or hear your story.
Your story does matter, and if you are thinking about writing it down, I encourage you to begin immediately for no one but you: an audience of one. Send your self-censors and your inner-editors on a little vacation and just write. You can worry about who gets to read it later on.
There’s another reason why I tell people their story matters; it has nothing to do with publishing or a greater audience. Instead, it has everything to do with inner strength — not just for the present, but for the future as well.
I recently read a post by one of my favorite inspiring bloggers, Danielle LaPorte, who wrote about this very issue (you can read the entire piece here: “You Will Be Called On To Expand, And This Is Why We Practice“).
When we’re believing in the fairness and the glory of human nature and the so-called Fates, we keep seeking, and meditating on reality, and praying for healing though nothing obvious ails us. . . .Because the day will most certainly come, as it does whether you are a whole-hearted Lover or in denial of Grace, that you will be struck down or ground down by life. It can come in tiny tearing heartbreaks five times a day, just walking through your neighbourhood. It could come in the name of tragedy that could only happen once in a lifetime. And you will need to withdraw the insights that you put into your heart’s escrow.
LaPorte is right, of course. Way back in ’88, I was renting a room in a farmhouse close to where I was teaching, and I was struggling in many ways. One rainy Sunday night, my roommates returned home from a weekend barn spiritual they had attended, and I was so empowered by their spiritual energy that I allowed them to share with me the power of Christianity and believing in a higher power.
For many months, I studied Jesus’ teachings as I read and re-read the letters, stories, and lessons shared in the New Testament. I had believed, all along, that the purpose of my struggles in 1988 was to lead me to read and study the bible so that I could be saved through Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice.
What I did not understand is that, by studying and practicing the lessons and the teachings, I was preparing myself for my father’s death in the spring of 1989.
When he passed away, I found great inner strength to be a support for my mother, to support others who were grieving, and to deliver the eulogy for our entire family. I exuded that strength at the viewings as well as at the funeral; I was called on to expand, as LaPorte puts it, and this is why I practiced.
The same is true with our writing and our creativity. We do not write and create simply to publish and enlighten or entertain; we do these things daily so that we may know who we are, so that we may strengthen our self-esteem, so that we may feel the confidence to face any situation we are given and expand at a moment’s notice.
I write every day to keep my soul and my confidence in shape for today; For I know that, soon enough, I will be called upon to put that knowledge into practice.
Discard your worries about judgment, upsetting others, or if anyone cares. Write and create every day for you. Strengthen your soul, even in the best of times. Build that cache of confidence and keep it well-stocked. You will need it, and when that moment comes, accept it with a firm foundation of inner strength and confidence in who you are.