I was helping a young woman prepare for a presentation. She wanted to talk about her culture's tradition of arranged marriages. After reading her lengthy draft about this practice's history and tradition, I asked her why this was important to her. She said her parents were in the process of finding her a husband. They were setting up several interviews for her. She already met one young man named Oscar. The date didn't go very well, and it made her fearful for the future. I said this is the story I want to hear. Tell me more about Oscar and how the evening went. When she put her personal story together, not only did she end up with a hilarious speech, but her message had more impact. Her audience was intrigued and engaged at the same time. It opened up fascinating conversations as people explained how her account was relatable to their cultural experiences. She gained a deeper understanding of what she wanted in her life.
I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Fact is stranger than fiction." I found this to be true many times. The stories I've told about some of my experiences were met with skepticism because they seemed too far-fetched. An interesting phenomenon would happen when I relayed an event that happened to me. I realized I had a new understanding and perception of that memory. I was able to see the humor of what was a scary or frustrating moment at the time. I would also recognize the lessons that I had to learn the hard way. It's not that I put rose-colored glasses on and gloss over my past. I try to understand why I made particular decisions. Many events and circumstances are beyond our control, but how we face them can help us get through them. I remind myself, if anything else, I'll have a good story.
My friend told me that she felt terrible for her twelve-year-old son, who wouldn't be able to attend school because of the pandemic. I said I agree that this is a tough time for everyone. The one positive is that when he has his kids, and they complain about having to go to school, he'll be able to tell them about a time when he wasn't allowed to go because of a global pandemic. It made her smile, and she had to agree we're all going to come out of this with a renewed insight into ourselves.
My parents were reluctant to share much of their childhood stories. The little bit that they told me gave me a better understanding of how their experiences shaped their mindset. Getting to know their hardships and how they rose above their circumstances impressed me. Looking back at my childhood with adult eyes, I have a greater appreciation for what they accomplished.
We all face different challenges, but the more we can talk about it, the better we understand ourselves and others. That's the beauty of sharing our stories. It allows us to visit yesterday and see how far we've come. Not only do we have a new perception of our past events, but we can entertain and inspire others at the same time.