Over 50s Lifestyle

The Courage to Tell Your Story

October 11, 2020
The Courage to tell your story

We all have a story to tell, some stories are more difficult to tell than others. Telling our story can be cathartic and perhaps make a difference in someone’s life who may have experienced the same situation.

My guest author today is Diana Raab Phd, who shares her story, why you need courage to tell yours and how to start writing your own story.

The Courage to Tell Your Story

My passion for writing began more than five decades ago. It began when my mother gave me a Khalil Gibran journal to help me cope with my grandmother and caretaker’s suicide when I was ten years old. Ever since then, I’ve viewed writing as both healing and transformative.

While much of my personal writing was done in my journals, as I began navigating other life challenges, I realized that sharing my story publicly with others not only helped me cope, but it helped other people on their own journey. Other than publishing essays, poems, and self-help books, I published my first memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journey when I was fifty-three. Writing this book helped me understand my grandmother’s life and suicide, and at the same time, others told me that it also helped them deal with the loss of their own loved ones due to suicide.

Storytelling dates back to the beginning of time. Stories hold up mirrors so that we can see ourselves. We tell stories because they fill the silence. Stories can also help us heal. Most personal stories are told in the first person, using “I.” There’s much to be learned from both writing our own stories and  from reading the stories of others. While hearing the stories of other people, we learn about both the tragedy and the comedy of life. Their stories become our story and can change the way we perceive and understand our own life.

Having the courage to tell your story involves sharing your emotional truth about poignant events in your life.

This means that it’s not so much about telling the story like a journalist. It is about saying  about how your life event affected the person you became as a result of your experience. In other words it’s about saying, “This is how I see what happened to me and this is how I feel about it.”

Writing your personal stories takes a huge amount of courage.

You need to be fearless and able to take risks. When you release your fears, you accept what happens in your life, and a sense of wonder and magic follows. As novelist Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Unfortunately, fear can be a show stopper. It can prevent you from getting your story on the page.

In his classic book, The Courage to Create, humanist psychologist Rollo May says that courage is not a virtue but the foundation needed for all other virtues. He says that courage makes being and becoming possible.

To be courageous, you must make choices that ultimately lead to transformation and bliss. For transformation to occur, you need to expose your inner self.

Many people don’t know where or how to start writing their story. In my book, Writing for Bliss, I suggested to start by writing about some of your most memorable life events and see which one resonates with them at the time. To help this process, I’ve also created Conversational Cards for Meaningful Storytelling which in addition to being good conversation starters (especially during a pandemic); they’re also great writing prompts and provide ideas of what to write about.

Find out more about the cards by clicking here.

Happy storytelling!

Meet Diana

Diana Raab

Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is a poet, memoirist, and blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of nine books. Her work has been published and anthologized in over 1000 publications. Raab blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, and Wisdom Daily and is a guest blogger for many others. She frequently writes and lectures on writing for healing and transformation. She has four poetry collections, including Lust.

Her latest creative endeavors include, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, Writing for Bliss: Companion Journal and Conversation Cards for Meaningful Storytelling.

Visit her at: dianaraab.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply Toni Pike October 11, 2020 at 10:07

    So nice to meet Diana and read her inspiring advice, Sue – that is something I’d never thought of doing. I loved her thoughts about being courageous. Toni x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:12

      Thanks Toni and so pleased you enjoyed Diana’s thoughts. x

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au October 11, 2020 at 16:08

    Hi Diana – I’ve written in a journal for many years, I’ve never considered it as storytelling – more as a way to record my thoughts and to work through different life events. Maybe one day I’ll go back through them all and pull out the stories – yours sounds incredibly interesting.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:13

      Hi Leanne, I do believe that we all have a story to tell and documenting it even just for ourselves is important. It shows us what we have experienced in life, how we have grown and what we have learned. x

  • Reply Debbie Harris October 11, 2020 at 20:22

    Hi Sue and Diana, your story resonated with me as I too was given a Khalil Gibran diary when I was a teenager and wrote a diary for many years. I have thought of them as stories but never considered writing them for others or of them being courageous but I think of them a bit differently now. I am very interested in your cards. Thanks Sue for introducing Diana to us.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:14

      Hi Deb, Diana made some good points and as we discussed the other day, we all have a story to tell. xx

  • Reply Donna Connolly October 12, 2020 at 07:13

    Hi, Sue and Diana – Thank you for sharing this inspiring story. There are so many thought-provoking gems in this post. It does take courage to release our inner most selves.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:15

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed Diana’s story Donna. I think that being vulnerable and sharing our inner selves is courageous too. x

  • Reply Erica/Erika October 12, 2020 at 10:06

    Hi Sue, You are right, how every person has a story. Some are cathartic and some will stay forever private. A good point on how the ripple effect of telling your story may affect others.

    Thank you for introducing Diana Raab here. Diana, I am very sorry to hear about your grandmother’s and caretaker’s suicide. I suspect some of these stories are never revealed for many reasons. Interesting how you put the words tragedy and comedy in the same sentence. As you well know, a person’s life is not defined by one moment. “…exposing your inner self” is a scary, vulnerable exercise. I will investigate the Conversational Cards. Thank you for a thought-provoking and interesting article. Erica

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:17

      Hi Erica, we don’t really know how the way we live or the actions we take can affect others. Diana has certainly experienced tragedy which she has overcome and I think the Conversational Cards are a great idea. x

  • Reply Christie Hawkes October 12, 2020 at 22:30

    Nice to meet you Diana. How wonderful that your mother saw what you needed and started you on this journey of writing. I agree telling our stories helps us understand them (and thus ourselves) and helps us connect with others. It’s a challenging, but worthwhile endeavor. Thank you for the introduction, Sue. I wish you both a lovely day.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:19

      Thanks Christie, I agree with Diana that writing our story is a way for us to understand why things happen in our lives. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post and have a lovely weekend. xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones October 13, 2020 at 07:31

    Thanks Sue for introducing Us to Diana. You know I’m an advocate for memoir so I found this post really interesting. Your cards look great.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 17, 2020 at 13:17

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post and meeting Diana, Jen. She will be a guest in a future podcast interview. x

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