I wake up in the wee hours and something is burning inside of me, an idea or a memory or a thought. By the time my morning pour over brew is ready, new thoughts have already occupied my mind. It’s tricky, right? To hold on to those brilliant sparks we have, or to rewrite that memory by the time the caffeine has set in, now you are fully awake.

One idea that surfaces for me is that we all win from sharing and hearing each other’s stories. Since I first discovered how critical this piece is to our happiness, I’ve also noticed the idea is showing up everywhere. So many great authors and inspirers now encourage all of us to open up and share our gifts, our story, our experiences.

Why is this so freaking important, why am I standing here saying this, why do I need to devote a third of my book to this topic?

Here’s the thing, friends. Our stories are a part of who we are, and these experiences shape our perception. How we view every situation, relationshop, job is through this lens shaped by our own personal tales. This is one reason.

Another value in this, people hold onto their stories. They keep them bottled up and they live inside like acid wanting to burn their way out. Sometimes they believe their tales are useless, that nobody wants to hear them. Other times they may be embarrassed, afraid, uncertain and keep their truth inside these secret stories.

Once you begin to share, you notice people begin to relate, to light up. This starts that fire again. How many times have you heard someone begin to tell their tale, and you’re already thinking, “yessss, me too”. A sense of comfort sets in, a sense of fitting in and belonging. Belonging, there’s that word Brene Brown chose so wisely in ‘Braving the Wilderness.”

And finally, my favorite reason for us to open up and tell our tales: vulnerability. You start to take chances, knowing you can unleash your true voice and self, get real with the world.

When you get uncomfortable, you get real. This is freedom in the truest sense of the word.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

― Anne Lamott