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Hold on to your hearts—the quotes I’m about to share will break down your walls and shake it loose.
As one of the Directors of Elephant Academy, I talk a lot (like, a lot) about the power of our voice, the particular kind of bravery that goes hand in hand with being vulnerable, and the ways that sharing even one story from our wonderful, messy little lives can a have rippling impact on our entire world.
Maybe you’ve seen me rattle on about how much our world needs those stories, about how much we can learn and grow and deepen our own experience by uncovering the lessons from our own experience, about how absolutely terrifying it can be to say it out loud and how quickly that terror vanishes when someone reaches out to say “yes, me too, exactly this.”
And maybe you haven’t quite believed me, because who am I? (Fair question, I’m still trying to work that out myself.)
So I’ve collected a few words from Brené Brown that drive home the same point, arguably much more eloquently, and I think we can all agree that when Brené says something, it’s worth listening to.
Get brave. Get vulnerable.
“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.”
Own the hell out of your story.
“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
“We own our stories so we don’t spend our lives being defined by them or denying them. And while the journey is long and difficult at times, it is the path to living a more wholehearted life.”
Uncover the power of your voice.
“Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected. Connecting the dots of our lives, especially the ones we’d rather erase or skip over, requires equal parts self-love and curiosity: How do all of these experiences come together to make up who I am?”
“We’re wired for story. In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there’s a surprisingly simple reason we want to own, integrate, and share our stories of struggle. We do this because we feel the most alive when we’re connecting with others and being brave with our stories—it’s in our biology. The idea of storytelling has become ubiquitous. It’s a platform for everything from creative movements to marketing strategies. But the idea that we’re ‘wired for story’ is more than a catchy phrase. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak has found that hearing a story—a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end—causes our brains to release cortisol and oxytocin. These chemicals trigger the uniquely human abilities to connect, empathize, and make meaning. Story is literally in our DNA.”
So, there you have it.
If those words don’t convince us all of the power, the necessity, and the epic reward of sharing our stories, I’m not sure what will.
We can make friends with our shame, our guilt, our suffering; we can (re)inspire our purpose and invest in our future; we can cultivate empathy—the world’s most transformative emotion; we can write our way to a more full, inspiring, genuine connection, and we can inspire others to do the same.