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.
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.