May is Mental Health Awareness Month and through my mental health journey, I have found so much power in telling my story. And as I have been able to hear so many other women’s stories through the Women of the Military podcast, I know the power of telling your story is not something that has had a positive effect in my life, but also in the women that I get to connect with.
Because of this, I want to spend today sharing the importance of sharing your story. And how sharing your story can empower you and help you find freedom in your own mental health journey. Sometimes we don’t realize the words or pressure we have put on ourselves and then we speak words out of our minds and either written on paper or shared verbally we can see those words in a whole new way.
You Learn You Are Not Alone
There is so much power and healing that comes from this and one of the biggest things I have realized through sharing my experience is that I am not alone. Before I opened up about my experience, I thought I was the only one. But we as humans are more alike than we are different and there is so much power and connection through telling your story and hearing the words I feel the same way as you. Knowing you are not alone can change everything about how you view yourself and your struggle. You can also gain advice and wisdom from others who have similar struggles as you learn what worked well for them.
Your Words Get Out of Your Head
Sometimes we can get stuck on a thought in our minds and begin to have that thought either cause us to doubt ourselves, be unkind to ourselves or begin to believe the worst about ourselves. But when you tell your story, you can read or listen to what you have said. Then you can see the lie in the negative thought you have been telling yourself. Or maybe you will write or say something that your mind has been trying to tell you, but you just couldn’t sort it out.
It is Freeing
Telling your story is therapeutic. There are so many different reasons why and some reasons apply to one person and don’t apply to others. But when I tell something to someone I haven’t’ told before I find freedom. Part of it has to do with forcing myself to be honest with myself. It also creates a vulnerable space where you trust the person you are telling. And finally, sometimes you get the affirmation that your story matters when someone listens and if they can affirm your feelings that empowers you all the more.
It can build a Platform
The only way you can tell others about your experience is by sharing your story. The story of vulnerability is what helps you have the credibility to help others. By sharing your experience, you can help others and that can help grow your platform.
It can lead to Change
Sharing your story can give a voice to others. Your story could be the first one to be told or an added layer of your experience that helps validate other stories that can lead to change. Through telling personal stories lawmakers and advocates have been spurred to action to make a change. My guest Kerry Karwan shared her experience on the podcast of infertility, but she also testified on Capitol Hill to help lead to changes in how the military deals with and supports women who deal with infertility. The way she was treated while serving was wrong. She is using her experience and story to help those who follow in her footsteps. It shows the power of storytelling and how it can lead to bigger changes than we ever expected.
There is so much power in telling your story and life experience. And it doesn’t matter what your story is. All stories add value. All stories are important. The underlining theme of the Women of the Military podcast is Your Story Matters because it does. I have had so many women tell me their story is not important because they didn’t do enough while in the service. But from those same women, I have heard the deepest insight and connection to my own story through hearing theirs.
Your story has value and all stories should be shared.
The Women of the Military Podcast focuses on the stories of military women. If you are a woman veteran or service member sign up here to share your story! If not, there are thousands of podcasts that share the stories of others. And if you can’t find one on the topic you want to hear about consider starting your own.
So, what’s your story?
Go out and tell it, even if it is writing it down for yourself. Start there and see what happens next.