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‘Who Cares About What I Have to Say?’: Why Your Story Matters More than You Think

By Audrey Quinn

Stories tell us who we are, and I’m not just saying that because it’s part of my organization’s mission statement. Think about it. 

Stories helped make you who you are

There’s the stories you read in books growing up, the stories you see on television and in movies, the stories you hear in your favorite songs. 

Then there’s the stories that are passed down, from your parents, your siblings, your very close friends, your teachers and mentors. Even as these people come and go in and out of your life, you are left carrying the stories they gave you. 

Likewise, you have stories you’ve shared and passed down to other people as well. The story you tell your brother about your best friend in middle school, and how much she meant to you even after you moved states, and how some friendships stay with you long after both parties have moved on and never met each other as the people you are today. The story you tell your parents about the person you are inside, even if they can’t see it right now. 

Sharing your story isn’t just for you

The big stories, the little stories, the funny stories, and the sombre stories; we all have lots of things to share with each other. And even if we don’t always see how important these stories are at the time, they are always valuable, and often end up making a bigger impact than we realize.

If you’re wondering whether your story is worth telling, then consider that storytelling is for both you and the person or people you’re sharing it with. 

We aren’t meant to bundle up all of our thoughts, emotions, and experiences and trudge through this world in silence. We need to share ourselves with other people. 

Stories help others know they’re not alone

Storytelling is an art form, like painting or composing music, that allows us to express the most intimate and meaningful parts of our lives. It’s a vehicle to share our stories with the people around us, and even people we may have never met. In this way, we form new bonds and communities, heal old wounds, and rejuvenate old relationships all through being brave enough to open up.

Telling your stories, no matter how big or how small, can also have an impact you might not expect. In reading or publishing your work, you share a part of yourself. There might be people who come across your story who’ve gone through something similar in their own life, but haven’t ever talked about it. Or they might not have had the words to describe the things they’ve been through, and your words have given them a new language and ability to talk about their experiences. 

People might also read or hear your story and learn something from it, or more importantly, they might start asking questions they never would have known to ask before. 

Stories help us process loss

Passing down stories is another important aspect of storytelling. It’s a way to remember and honor the people, animals, and places we’ve lost. 

It can also be a way to process grief and loss. It’s important to share the stories that can no longer be shared by the people who experienced them. It can be amongst family, friends, or a broader community. Passing down stories is perhaps one of the most ingrained and common cultural practices humans have shared for thousands of years.

Stories connect us to each other

As scary as it is to open ourselves up, it is part of the way humans connect. 

If you’re uncertain about how to tell your story, or doubt yourself along the way, remember that’s normal. It’s a sign that you’re being vulnerable and connecting with something deeper than you’re used to. 

Remember that your story matters, and it’s not just for yourself. It’s for your kids, your parents, your friends, and the familiar strangers who, just like you, think they are all alone in their silence. 

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