Along your journey, there will be people who understand and get you—but there will be others who simply do not. At times, it will feel like a struggle to find those who love the real you—all of you. That’s OK; your story and struggles are sacred, and they are to be protected, guarded, and cherished.
Here are some tips that will help you protect the pearl that is your story:
Assess the Relationship
Before you consider opening up to someone, really take the time to assess your relationship with this person. Is it someone you just met at party? Or is this someone you really want to do life with, maybe even someone who is traveling in the same direction as you?
What’s the Venue?
Not everyone is called to share his or her story in an amphitheater, a blog post, or a TED Talk. We are each living, breathing, talking stories, and their reach does not diminish their power. Be wise about the setting or venue through which you share your story—especially if you are thinking about sharing it in a very public manner.
Don’t Let It Be The First Thing You Share
In the words of musician Ralston Bowles, “Don’t let your struggle become your identity.” Your struggle does not define you. There is more to you than your addiction, your depression, or the stronghold that seems to be taking over your life. When you meet someone new, find common ground. Take a genuine interest in them and talk about what makes you both come alive. It helps to be able to share the heavy things in a space where you already know there is light.
What’s Your Motivation?
Before you share you story, in whatever format it may be, check your motivation. Is it for fame? Is it out of insecurity, or is out of a genuine desire to connect with someone and to be understood? Do you have a desire to inspire hope with your story? Have you already spoken with the people who matter most in your life? Before you share, make sure you have healthy intentions.
Know What Not to Share
We live in a broadcast, tell-all culture. Having the discernment about what not to share is just as important as knowing who to share with. Do you feel like there might be parts of your story that are better kept to yourself, your counselor, or your journal? That’s OK. Respect those instincts. Everybody doesn’t have to have all-access if you don’t want them to.
We must dare to live our stories and live them well. However frightening or scary or strange they may be, they are a part of us. Remember there is beauty in brokenness and you are not finished yet.