I just spent two weeks with a team of people from all over the world, volunteering like myself, on a medical mission in the Philippines. The highlight of my time was hearing other people’s stories. In the unhurried spaces while we were waiting, I would ask people on team to tell me their story. Occasionally I would tell mine. Sometimes it was just the sharing of information or a summary of a life. One time in particular I felt a deep connection with another soul, as we shared vulnerably and honestly about our lives and our struggles. In the conversation, not only did we get to know one another but we also were able to encourage one another and impart hope.
Dr Sherry Hamby believes there is a remarkable benefit to sharing our story and is surprised at the power of emotional, autobiographical storytelling. Her research highlights that sharing our story can help others; writing it down or sharing our story with another helps to organise and make sense of what often seems random and unconnected; it helps us to focus on what is important and clarifies our values, and often gives us a sense of peace and hopefulness we did not have before. The process of telling one’s story is a worthwhile exercise. Listening to someone else’s story is just as important.
How long has it been since you swapped stories-genuine emotional, autobiographical storytelling? The bible says, “…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15b.
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Photo @Katie Treadway on Unsplash