A couple of weeks ago I participated in an awesome event in CT, the 4th Annual Phenomenal Women Panel. I was blessed to sit among three other phenomenal women, as we each shared our stories of how we came to be the women we are today. It’s always amazing when you decide to open up and allow people inside of your world. I’ve always been one of those people who worked hard, but quietly. Accolades and pats on the back, although appreciated, were never really sought out. It had never made sense to me that someone would want to hear about my struggles, my pain, my journey. What we fail to realize though, is that some people can only grow through learning about the trials and tribulations of others. That is what gets them motivated, and that is what enacts change in their lives. I should know this, because I am one of those people.
How many of us get emotional, or excited, or invigorated when we watch one of those motivational videos on YouTube? Or when we pick up a book that’s based on someone’s life, and identified with some of the obstacles they’ve encountered? It is so very, very important for us to feel connected to those in our world, because we ARE connected. Have you ever heard the saying, “No idea is new” (or something like that)? I believe that no life is new. There is nothing that you are going through that someone else hasn’t already experienced. While your story is yours alone, you should never believe that you’re alone in the fact that it happened. At the event, I listened to women speak of being molested as children, of becoming teen mothers, of quitting their jobs and following their passions, no matter how difficult it all seemed. Somehow, these women were able to persevere through everything that was thrown at them, and the women and young girls in the audience were inspired. They saw images of beautiful, strong women, and came to the realization that if we could do it, they could do it.
This doesn’t mean that you have to share any and everything about yourself, especially if you are not comfortable with it, or haven’t gotten to the point where it’s easy to discuss. But there are small parts you can share. Studying for that career license while balancing several jobs? You did that. Working the night shift and going to school during the day? You did that. Deciding that struggling as a single parent, rather than staying in an environment that was wrought with abuse and negativity? YOU DID THAT. Celebrate yourself, and let people know why you should be celebrated! Believe me, you’re not being self-righteous or conceited, you’re being real. And today, especially in the crazy society we live in, we need more real.