The Juicy Details Aside, Your Story of Heartbreak May Be the Story Others Need to Hear
A friend once said, “One day you won’t feel the need to tell everyone this awful story”. She was so right.
I was terribly hurt about 15 years ago, and for a long time afterwards, I wanted to tell my friends, and anyone who would listen, the story. I guess I got something out of seeing their eyes bulging and hearing their gasps. They just couldn’t believe that while I was nurturing a newborn baby, and chasing around a 2-year-old, their father was off having an affair with a younger woman.
And, the juicier the details, the better. My audience liked the drama, and I enjoyed giving it to them. It was a part of my identity and I wasn’t sure I’d ever let it go.
Thankfully, I did.
For years now, I haven’t had the need to tell that story just for empathy or shock value. In fact, I haven’t had much desire to talk about that dark period at all.
And yet, something happened to me recently that made me realize just how much value this story has to others.
When I published my little “victim to victory” story on a whim one day on YourTango, it took off. For some reason, this story about a woman who thought she had it all having her heart broken by the father of her children struck a chord with a ton of people. Before I knew it, it was all over the internet and my phone was ringing like crazy!
What was it about my story?
Let's be real. Some internet voyeurs just got into the sexy drama of it. They are the ones that want the details like, "How did you find out?" "What were the warning signs?" "What did she look like?" Others on the political bandwagon extracted a few ideological comments I'd written and turned it into a story about who makes better husbands, Democrats or Republicans. Still other readers used it for their platform to espouse philosophies on how “antiquated” and “ridiculous” monogamy is.
Most people, however, could relate to the pain and appreciated hearing about someone overcoming it. It gave them hope!
Women have reached out to me to learn more about how I managed through such a devastating blow. CNN/HLN asked me to speak about how famous women like Maria Shriver and Holly Pettraeus must feel. Most importantly, the men and women I work with and look forward to working with were given a window to my soul.
So, the truth is out. This happy go-lucky, energetic and passionate life and leadership coach hasn't always had it all together! I, like so many of my clients, have had more than my fair share of heartache.
And, yet, despite those hard times, I found blessings wrapped in adversity! I came out of it all stronger and wiser and incredibly passionate about my newest chapter in life and the work that I do!
So, if you have a story of betrayal or pain, and have survived unimaginable heartbreak, you may not need to tell it, but you may choose to share it. You will know the difference between the need and the want and when the timing is right.
As you are gathering during this holiday season, and people ask you about yourself or your life, make a conscious decision. Do I share this story for me, or do I share it for others?
Even if the story really stinks. Even if it caused you some crazy pain. It is your story. If you are fortunate enough to already be at the cause of your life rather than at the effect of your past, then you are ready to share it.
If you’re not quite there yet, you will be. It may take a little work, but your time will come to hold on to what you want, release what you don’t and invite a new story in to replace the old one.
At that point, give thanks for it. Your story is "her story" or "his story" and most importantly, "history". Now you are ready for your future!