Like you, I have a story. In fact, we have many stories. A plethora of seemingly small, or sometimes life altering large experiences that make us who we are. Stories that when spoken out loud have the power to connect, to heal and to honour us. So why aren’t we all spilling the beans?
When I took my Doula training back in March, I discovered so many women that were apprehensive to share their experiences – those pleasant or difficult. Since then, I began to see that it wasn’t just those women that weekend, but humanity as a whole. So, when this topic came up in a workshop I recently participated in about empowering motherhood, I was chomping at the bit to delve into it.
How many times have I watched a woman who had a difficult birth story make vague comments, but when given the chance to elaborate, they shift the attention onto someone else. Or a woman that had a wonderful birth experience, keep quiet amongst the other women. Over time and many deep conversations, I have come to learn this… The women that were not sharing their difficult stories were not doing so most of the time, because they didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by being a ‘damper.’ And the women that had pleasant stories didn’t want to share them, worried it would sound like they were gloating or worse — make the other women feel inadequate. So here we are, all too worried about everyone else, that we aren’t sharing at all. We aren’t connecting, celebrating, or grieving – we are just skimming the surface! The more I have talked about this topic, the more I have learned about what I believe to be one of the most important things we can do for one another…
HONOUR every story. Honour the woman in tears that had a c-section when she was planning on a home birth. And, also honour the woman beside her who is sharing how her birth was everything she hoped for. Sometimes we need those around us to support us through our grief. Or, at least respect that we are healing a little bit more every time we talk about it. And sometimes, we need to celebrate when something went our way!
Now, this way of thinking takes some practice, and a lot of self-awareness. It can be difficult at times when someone is spewing positivity to celebrate with them. It so often becomes a competition amongst one another. In addition, when things are not going well in our own life, or perhaps we had a very different experience, we so often hop on the spiteful train and think something on the lines of, “well aren’t you just a lucky duck”, unable to genuinely honour them. But, you see. That isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to the person that deserves a high five, and it is’t fair to you. Because, there will come a time when you have something to celebrate, but if you poo poo’ed all over Susan’s triumph, chances are she won’t want to celebrate your win.
What if instead of projecting our own icky feelings, we honoured one another’s story for what it is? What if, when we were feeling sad, we allowed ourselves to feel it. To share our grief and receive love and support from those we love — instead of worrying about being a party pooper. And, what if when we are stoked about something, we allowed ourselves to celebrate, instead of worrying about coming across arrogant?
Being humble does not mean you need to be quiet. Read that again.
You can be a humble, wonderful, supportive, and vulnerable human being while speaking out and taking up some dang space in this world.
So, if you’re having a crap day and you want to share. I honour you. I’ll give you a hug, send you an awkward selfie, or toss my hands in the air and scorn the world with you. And if you’re having a kick ass day – guess what? I HONOUR YOU. Let’s party!
The cool thing is, this doesn’t have to be just about motherhood. You can reap the benefits of deep connection and authentic relationships by using this (not so secret) talent, with everyone in your life. I challenge you to try it and watch your relationships evolve — especially the relationship with yourself. The more you honour others, the more you begin to honour yourself. So, “sayonara” self-deprecation and “hello” self-love!