When we tell our stories, we share in a way that is different from giving advice. When we share our experiences, we offer others the opportunity to view what’s inside us, the vulnerable parts, the parts we keep hidden because we want to protect ourselves from judgment. We think our layers of protection keep us safe—rather, it is by sharing our stories that we shatter the assumptions that others hold about us. Telling our stories is also a process of self-reflection. The way in which we describe our experiences says something about us, and it is by speaking our stories out loud that we begin to see that others share what we feel.
To listen to a person’s story is to honor that person’s worth. Listening…with an open mind, without judgment…empowers the storyteller, and fosters trust.
We can go through life thinking we have all the answers. If we do this, we miss opportunities for growth, insight, compassion, and to support someone who may feel that they are alone, when in fact, hundreds if not thousands are connected to them because of their shared feelings.
In my award-winning book, The Female Assumption, I share stories of women who have traversed various life paths, some who are mothers, some who never wanted motherhood, some who expected it but it didn’t happen. The thread that ties these stories together is the shared experience of womanhood, with a cultural history that asks females to quiet their voices, a culture that disregards their choices, and assumes that all will be okay so long as Annie or Suzie does A, B, and C with her life. There is not a one-size-fits all path for females. Listen to the females in your life so that they will feel that they have a voice, so they don’t feel they have to go along with the rest of the group, so that they can learn to better know themselves. Denying a female her voice has repercussions that can last a lifetime. #Listen2WomensVoices