Updated: Nov 1
When it’s your purpose to help other people - especially in a peer-based support atmosphere, the things you have overcome become your resume. When you share those experiences, you realize how many others can relate, who can benefit from your experiences, and who you can help heal. It’s even healing to the healer.
I was conditioned that it was wrong to share my own experiences with others. I loved being the one that people come to with their heartaches and woes, but eventually learned that if I attempted to share my own, I was accused of “talking about myself and my own problems” as if it’s a privilege I haven’t yet been granted. I’ve even been accused of seeking sympathy when speaking about my loss (I was widowed barely a year the first time that happened). Many have been taught that their hardships don’t matter because there is always someone out there who has had it so much worse. This is all negative conditioning, as I’ve come to learn. It’s a way to invalidate and minimize experiences and feelings, or even create shame, and that is not okay. I’m still learning to overcome this, and by speaking about it, I’m sure there is someone out there who can relate! Our experiences help to shape us. Would anyone know who we really are if we don't talk about them?
As a result, I have learned to be the person that I needed others to be for me. I have learned to listen to hear - not just to respond. I have learned that everything is relative - what is one person’s worst experience could be a dream to someone else, but is every bit as valid and should not be compared. Everyone is on their own unique journey. The commonality in everyone’s unique journey is that everyone needs to be heard, acknowledged, understood, and loved. Not judged, compared, minimized, or shamed. That although nothing can be done to change the things that have happened, just having someone who genuinely cares and is willing to listen with an objective, non-judgmental, loving ear is all that we need to begin to heal.