We all have our stories. Some are obvious and observable, evident and easy to read — others are hidden or plastered in, buried, stuffed, or glossed over.
We all carry around those things people wouldn’t know, unless we told them.
When people share their stories, it’s a gift.
I’m always surprised, although I shouldn’t be, when I hear the stories of a casual acquaintance or close friend, unraveled over coffee.
Wow, I think. You lived through that.
There are times those stories resonate, mirroring my life. Other times, I hear something completely foreign to my experience and my reaction mixes wonder and curiosity with gratefulness. I am grateful that you shared. I’m curious to hear more. I am in wonder of how strong and resilient you are.
It takes courage to share stories, but the courage is rewarded with relationships brought closer. When we share our stories with others, sharing is a bridge that brings us together. As I communicate with vulnerability, I walk closer to you. As you listen with empathy, you move closer to me.
Sharing decimates isolation; when we share, we connect. When we share, we create the possibility for encouragement and support.
But knowing how much to share, how to share, when to share, with whom to share? That can be tricky.
I’ve seen friends going through a difficult time completely drop offline; they stop blogging and updating Facebook. They slip away, disappear. I see others, and I know they are going through a difficult time, but their online presence reflects business as usual. You would never know they were experiencing difficulty, unless they told you. Or, there are others who share everything, all the time, in real time, as it happens. Others share intermittently or after-the-fact.
The decision to share is completely individual. My personal preference has always been to selectively share. I don’t want to create an illusion online that I have a perfect life, nor do I want to share every struggle and setback.
Last week, my father died. When he had a stroke this July, I shared with my Facebook friends. When he died, I sent an email to my team and to our clients. I sent private notes to a few friends and called a couple of others. But I didn’t share on Facebook. I don’t really know why, except that I wanted space and time to process the news and I wanted to spend time offline.
Now that I am back online, I am choosing to share here. My sharing is an invitation to move closer, to connect.
I am sharing because I want you to know.
And because you wouldn’t know, unless I told you.
P.S. The picture is my world this morning. Snow, cold temperatures, and kids/husband home from school/work.
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
I’m sorry to hear about your Dad Becky. Thank you for sharing. I agree that stories build and enhance relationships. Dave
I appreciate you, Dave. Thank you.
Beautiful, just beautiful. What you have done for me during my own time of trouble will never be forgotten. For that matter, what you have done at every interaction we’ve had over the past year is simply unforgettable. I will be forever grateful. I like your world, especially today.
Thank you, John. I am glad to share this journey with you.
My condolences, Becky. So sorry to hear about your loss. Thanks for sharing the way you process what and when you share personal information. This will all of us think about this for ourselves.
Thank you, Dan. I appreciate your support!
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Becky. Sending you a big hug and wishing I could give it to you in person.
I appreciate you, Chery. I hope we can meet in person in the year ahead.
I’m so very sorry to hear about your loss, Becky. Sending prayers for comfort and peace for you and your family.
Thank you, Jesse!
Thank you for sharing, Becky. I’m praying for God’s peace and comfort as you grieve the loss of your Dad.
I’m just playing catch up after three days working away, with a focus on work rather than on social media.
So I just wanted to say that I am sorry to hear of your father’s passing … and to thank you for sharing that news. It is an aspect of what makes us human. It is also an aspect that is rarely discussed or shared openly in my experience and yet it touches each of us throughout our lives. This makes your sharing much more powerful for me and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this sad time.
Sorry to hear about your father, Becky. Thoughts and prayers with you and your family. Good points about striking the balance in terms of what to share. I’m not a “share everything” person, but I do find trying to be totally “biz as usual” during a challenging time doesn’t feel authentic. Opening up isn’t always right and is hard, but doing so does open the window for deeper connection as you suggest here.
Thanks, David. I appreciate your support and response. I must admit — not sharing widely has created some awkward moments. Authenticity is important to me, so I am more likely to not share at all when I can’t be open.