Today as my friend shared her hopelessness, I realized that our experiences are not for us. What if we only experience life-changing events, heartbreaks, and hurdles just so we can use those experiences to benefit others?
So the question is, why don’t we share our experiences?
Two words: Fear and Shame
My friend sipped her tea in silence as if her mind was elsewhere. I saw the emptiness in her eyes, she was losing hope, but was too afraid to bare her shame.
“What is your biggest fear?” I asked her.
It took a few seconds for her to answer, but when she did, it was only a whisper.
“I am completely lost; I have no idea who I am anymore, no matter how hard I try, nothing works. My biggest fear is that I will never find myself.”
We both sat there in silence for the longest minute. Without looking at her, I told her, I know the emotional pain of her situation. I just needed her to share, because it is in the sharing that the healing begins.
We chatted for a long time. As our conversation ended, she looked at me and smiled with tears flowing down her cheeks. We connected; I did not have to say anything else.
Through our stories, we shared the scars of our experiences. Then when our eyes met, it confirmed that she was not alone, that there was no judgment here because our stories are similar.
Here is the disconnect. On one side of the battlefield, there is the wounded. Walking around aimlessly, angry, resentful, lost, and dying slowly of hopelessness and shame. They have ideas, but with no sense of direction, they remain stagnant, just going around in circles.
It is not laziness. Have you ever used a map or GPS to get somewhere, but end up lost, until someone takes the time to guide you to your destination?
On the other side of the battlefield, there are those who found their way out of the darkness. But you would never know that they too were soldiers of the same war. Because they cover up so well, separating themselves from the wounded, too scared to share how they got out because of their shame of being there in the first place.
In this cycle of fear and shame, we leave each other alone on the battlefield, scrambling around with the ammunition to fight, but no strategy to win.
Who says we are supposed to hide our fears and vulnerabilities? What if we share them bravely? Like today, if I did not share my scars with my friend, encouraging her that I too was deeply wounded. Who knows what the path she would have taken?
My scars reminded her that we are all soldiers fighting in the same army, bad things happen. But we fight, we encourage, dig each other out of the gutter–and in the end, we will all have a hell of a story to tell.
Until next time….