I believe in being open about our tough times and how we’ve struggled in life.
I was chatting with a friend at a party recently. At this party there were many adults and quite a few kids – ‘kids’ being 17-21 year olds. We were laughing at how there was no way we’d have hung out with our parents at that age. When we were in our late teens, early twenties, we were partying as far away as we could from adults.
As you can imagine, we then said, in lowered voices, ‘if only our kids knew…‘.
The thing is – my kids do know. For instance, they know I don’t drink alcohol, and I’ve never once bullshitted them into thinking it’s for any reason other than I abused it. That’s a tough thing to discuss with your kids, but it’s also a beautiful thing to do FOR your kids.
In fact, I think vulnerable sharing is beautiful no matter who you’re sharing with – your kids, family, friends, even strangers. It’s beautiful because it connects us.
What’s vulnerable sharing?
We can share our stories – our struggles – in a vulnerable way when we’re appropriately open and honest. With my kids, they know I no longer drink alcohol, that I attended AA, and goofed up enough to want to quit forever. They do not, however, need to know about the stupid drunk stories of my past. That is being open, honest, but also appropriate. I haven’t spoken with them about this part of my journey just to entertain them. I shared vulnerably with them because I want them to know I’ve struggled and gotten through tough times, I want my struggles to possibly teach them and inspire them to not make the same mistakes, but if they do – most importantly – I want them to know they’re safe coming to me with anything, and I will love and guide them.
If I happen to have a casual conversation with someone who mentions that they or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, I’m able to have a very similar conversation with the same intention. (and I have, believe it or not, had that topic come up that casually and with strangers)
In fact, as you might have noticed, I’m pretty open about all my struggling – not only with alcohol but with violence, in divorce, and regarding my son’s death shortly after birth. Some might think it’s attention seeking (it’s not), or that it’s overboard (it might be once in a while), but mostly I share with the desire to help more people get free from their pain.
You can, too. You can share your stories because I know you’ve also have experiences of pain. You’ve struggled and overcome life’s bumps in the road. When you share that, you help others feel safe and less alone – you give them hope or even a bit of advice if they ask for it.
I believe vulnerable sharing is priceless in our world – to help people feel more comfortable together. It’s especially powerful when we parent our kids. The last thing we need to communicate to our kids – however indirectly – is that we’re perfect or haven’t had struggles. When they know our struggles, they then also know that we’ve endured… and they can too. They know they have someone who’ll be there for them when they need some encouragement or guidance. Not because we’re parents or adults or wise… but because we’ve been there, done that. We’ve suffered, too.
What experiences from your life could you share vulnerably?
I know it might seem scary, but it’s actually empowering to share your tough times. YOUR story can help others. YOUR story can inspire. YOUR story can encourage others to get help or create something better. YOUR story can relieve others – showing them that everything can turn out okay. Your story holds so much power… transforming power – not only for you but for others.
There’s an added bonus from sharing your pain. When you give voice to your pain and healing, a beautiful thing happens – that healing and inner peace grow deeper within you. You become more free from the pain in your past, and that is empowering!
Next week I’ll share some ways you can share your story with vulnerable, appropriate honesty. And then you can help create more connection in our world.
Enjoy each day, Shannon