Everyone has a story to tell. Regardless of what you think about your story and how important it is, I'm here to say it is worth telling. You might think that it isn't very amazing, outstanding, inspiring or any other such word that ends with “i.n.g.” But, let me assure that it is all those things and more. Your story, whether in the past or present, is worth being told and worth listening to.
When I lost my sight, I never looked at it as some big deal. But, there have been many people who have purposely come up to me and told me that I was “amazing” and an “inspiration.” Again, I don't really think those things are true. But, apparently, to some people, they are very true.
Perhaps for you, sharing your story is difficult. Maybe you just recently lost your sight. Perhaps the sight loss altered your life so much that you are still trying to figure it all out. Maybe the words don't come very easily but the tears do. Even if all those things are true, I still think sharing what you are going through can be so important.
And, to prove my point, here are three reasons why:
1. It helps you process.
When we go through something like sight loss, it can take a while to understand everything around it. From the emotional turmoil we are facing to learning to navigate life as a VIP, we can be overwhelmed with everything coming at us at once. When you begin to share your story, it can help you process many of these tings.
For example, let's say there is a friend of yours who drops by the house to see how things are going. They ask you questions about what has been happening and what you have been doing. As you share with this friend some personal things, you yourself begin to realize some things that you hadn't before. The friend not only listens intently, but offers up some much needed outside insight into your sight loss journey. Simply by sharing what has been happening, you find some answers you were looking for. And, at the very least, you feel a little more “centered” after sharing.
Processing things can be hard, but it is so helpful to you and those around you. Speaking of which…
2. It helps to encourage others.
You might feel like the only one that is going through this right now. But, I assure you, you are not. There are lots of other people out there who are struggling through sight loss as you are. Perhaps with a different disease or set of circumstances, but their lives are changing nonetheless.
Imagine sharing a post on Facebook of how you are feeling today. It's not that you are looking for pity or anything, you just want to be open and honest about your story. Someone reads that and shares it out with a friend who is losing their sight. They write you a message thanking you for sharing honestly about where you are because they are in a similar place. It encourages them that they are not alone in what they are going through.
Sharing your story can have a deep impact on people especially if they are in a similar place.
3. It helps those around you to understand a little better.
Sharing your story can help encourage others who are losing their sight. But, it can also help sighted folks in your life to begin to understand things a little better. Sure, they may not fully get it, but they can begin to understand where you are coming from, how to best help you and what to do and not to do.
Remember the friend from earlier? Not only were they able to offer some insight to you, but they received a ton as well. They would be able to go home and share with their family about what they had heard. And, they might even understand blindness a little better as a whole. That way, the next time they run into a blind person, they won't start grabbing their arm and saying, “Let's go!” Plus, they totally get it when you say you are having a bad day. All because you were able to share your story.
Sighted people might not ever fully get it. But, they'll never even come close if we don't share with them.
The Story Goes On
Are you beginning to see that your story can have a real impact? Not only for visually impaired people, but for sighted folks well? Yes, sharing your story is so important. And, as I said, even if you are struggling and not sure what you are doing, that is just as important to share. Someone else is out there assuming they have to have it all figured out. It would be helpful to them to know that they don't. Sharing where you are right now may make an impact you never even realized.
Ways to Share
Quickly, I just wanted to offer a couple of suggestions on ways you can share your story with those around you and around the world.
- Facebook is a great place to post and share your journey. You can share on your personal profile or join a group that is dedicated to blind and visually impaired people.
- Find a couple of good friends and ask to get together sometimes. Even if it is just for coffee or something, ask them to be willing to hear where you are at. You can do this every couple of weeks. That way, you are starting a routine.
- Journaling is another great way of sharing. This way is a little more private, but it is a great way to get out your thoughts and process through certain things. Plus, you can look back over them to see your progress.
- You can be like my friend Maria Johnson from Girl Gone Blind and start a blog documenting your journey. It is helpful for you and for those who will eventually read it.
- Find opportunities to share your story in public. Perhaps you could speak to a group of elementary children, give a talk at a Lions Club meeting or share at your church. Regardless, you are helping to educate while normalizing blindness as well.
Sit Down, Fat Lady…
The important thing here is to remember your story isn't over. In fact, it is just getting started. Go out, share your story and see how it unfolds. As Doc Brown said, “Your future hasn't been written yet.” So, share the good, the bad and the ugly of your story up to this point. As you do, you are helping to shape how that story plays out in the next chapters.
Are you sharing your story? How and why do you do it? I love to hear about it in the comments below!