The title of this post comes from Brene Brown, a shame and empathy researcher who gathered thousands of stories from thousands of people. She makes it clearer for us, after hearing and studying all these stories that no one rides for free. Everyone you meet has a heartbreaking, sad, gut wrenching story to tell. No matter if you are the little rich kid from San Diego, CA or the poor kid in New Haven, CT. There is no free ride. We all have a story to tell that would break your heart.
I have to say, since moving to CT, I have learned this. This is one of the richer states in the union and yet it has some of the most blatant systemic racism, eye opening poverty and some of the saddest stories I have ever heard from both the rich and the poor. We all have our stories and at the heart of those stories is our own basic human needs that we are all trying to meet. The psychologist Glasser in his theory named them as FUN, LOVE, WORTH and FREEDOM.
One of the things that surprises me is just how often we see other people as perfect or even see them as having little or no problems when in reality, that isn’t the case. We are all walking around with our own baggage. The weight and size of the baggage varies from person to person as one would expect. It doesn’t change the fact, everyone’s got something they carry with them. We all have our stories.
Another surprise I find are those who claim to have no story, no baggage and are quick to tell other what they think is other people’s baggage. I once experienced a women who could easily paint you a picture of her life being perfect and explain to you all the things wrong with your life. Funny enough, that isn’t what I saw when I saw her. I mostly saw a lonely person, scared and fighting to own anyone’s story but her own.
I have learned from a few years of doing NVC, conflict management, and mediation work that not all of us own up to our stories. Brene Brown has certainly given me words to describe something I have seen for many years listening to people’s “Sides” of the stories. I notice they want to own the story they believe will pull you to their side rather than the story that is really their’s. This of course doesn’t happen all the time and still, it does happen often enough for me to think to myself, “Stop telling me what you think I want to hear, and tell me the story that is really your’s”
I have been thinking, like everyone does at this time of year, about my new year, 2011 and what I want for me as a person. I guess every year for the past decade I have picked things about who I am and who I want to be and tried to work on them. I think in this coming year, I want to work on really owning my story and as Brene Brown says, “living life wholeheartedly” and authentically as I can. I think this mean not saying yes to things I don’t really want to do. It means not worrying about being perfect, looking perfect, saying perfect things or worrying if I am good enough. This also means caring less about what people “think” of me, especially those who don’t really know me, which I add is many people.
I plan to make the next year another one of those years where I continue to grow. I have spent the past few years working on being compassionate to others, even if I don’t like them. I worked on being patient, being empathetic, being mindful. This year I would like to start advocating that same compassion in how i treat myself. I plan on owning my story and being content with it.
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"Be the change you wish to see in the world"
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"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
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