Embracing the Power of Personal Narrative in Stories

When I first thought about telling my personal stories or sharing information about myself I fell into the old thought patterns, the ones developed in childhood, from school, friends and parents.

The voices that said, no one wants to hear about you! you’re not important!

There are people in the world worse off than you!

Other people are too busy and important and don’t have time to listen to you!

There are so many more impressive stories out there!

Some people have actually done something with their life.

These were so loud and insistent that I held my tongue and kept my mouth shut. 

Discovering the Transformative Potential of Storytelling

When I became a parent and especially when I started work as a youth worker I started to realise how wrong these voices actually were. I was interacting with so many moms that felt they were doing a bad job, struggling or failing in some way because they were not living up to what they saw on social media, TV and perceived social expectations.

I have always liked to help people feel better about themselves so I would share funny stories about parenting failures, which then lead to sharing about my mental health battles and that’s when I started to realise my experiences were valid. Important and worth sharing. People would share their own stories and tell me how having someone to talk to made them feel less alone and that knowing someone else had experienced similar gave them confidence in dealing with it.

It started me thinking about the reasons we tell stories, I delved more into the history and the psychology of storytelling, gained a diploma in Narrative therapy and discovered why our stories, the ones we might feel are not important, inconsequential or just everyday, are the ones that need telling, the ones people need to hear.

Empowering Through Shared Storytelling Experiences

I started wanting to share my stories with women’s groups, especially groups that have or may have members living with domestic violence to share my story of being groomed as a teen and the resulting years of abuse, near suicide and my journey out to freedom.

To show them they are not alone that someone has gone before, that there is a way and there is hope for the future. I wanted to share my journey through anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, debt, eviction and more. There were so many stories all at once I didn’t know where to start.

During lockdown I put together all the skills I had learnt and more, I worked on a system to help find the right stories to tell at the right times and to the right people so I could have the best impact, the biggest ripple.

I saw how a story told was like a dandelion seed.  It could travel unseen and land in the most inhospitable place, germinate and grow into something useful changing its environment in the process.

Just how a story can prompt action. give guidance and bring hope to the person that needs to hear it. A story won’t stop with one person. It can travel on and on and on as people retell it or tell about how they heard it and how it made them feel. 

Your stories are important; they can inspire action, give hope, guidance and let someone know they are not alone. You may never know the impact it can have on someone, know the ripple effect it can have on a life or multiple lives. Share your stories with others no matter how small everyday or inconsequential you may think it could be. It could be the thing someone needed to hear. 

If you’d like to develop your story or gain confidence in telling your story to others then you can read more about how I can help you here. https://thespeakersstoryteller.com/pollie-rafferty-the-speakers-storyteller/

Alternatively if you like to book a call with me click here.