This past Sunday, I had an opportunity to share a little of my childhood story with my church. It was the first time I said anything about my past in a collective setting….it was hard. The difficulty didn’t stem from being afraid of what they may think about me, the hardest part for me was wondering how it would feel to hear the sound of my voice tell parts of my story aloud. You see, it’s one thing to know your past, but it’s another to tell someone else about it. It’s almost like accepting the truth for what it is instead of keeping it locked in your head as though it’s an imaginary story that you can somehow erase by spending your life creating more happy moments in hopes of suppressing the memories of your unhappy past. Ahhhh! That’s even exhausting to read! But in my head, it was a perfect plan! A plan that I thought I would be able to carry out. I mean it seemed to be working quite well….until it wasn’t.
You see, I realized that even in having happy moments and creating joyful memories, that my past still influenced my decisions. It still crept up in my moods and it still resonated in my spirit. It dawned on me that if I really wanted to change lives, I had to be honest with myself. I had to stop living in a fantasy land, holding my testimony to myself when it may be the very thing that could change the life of someone else.
Someone said that I don’t look like what I’ve been through – that’s probably because I’ve learned how to clothe the ugly pretty well. Many of us do. We walk around with smiles and pretty faces when we are broken inside hurting in silence. I don’t want that for me and I certainly don’t want that for you.
I started my career coaching practice because I’ve always had a natural desire to help people become a better version of themselves. Turns out it is much easier to help others work through their hardship than it is to work through your own. I never really understood why my desire was so strong, but now I realize that it’s because I thought that if I could help to “fix” others, my brokenness would repair itself. I was wrong.
I’ve learned my lesson. I have decided that instead of waking up each day putting makeup on my scars, I will allow them the air to breathe so they can heal in the open.
Author Van Moody said in his book, The People Factor: How Building Great Relationships and Ending Bad Ones Unlocks Your God-Given Purpose:
To build and maintain deep, substantive relationships, people must know themselves, be honest about themselves, and share their true selves with others.
I’ve learned that telling my truth isn’t only healing for me, it can be a blessing to someone else and continuing to keep it to myself is selfish. We don’t go through things just because it’s a part of life. We go through things because our story can change lives! When we tell our story to others, we are forced to undress…become vulnerable and that is when real change happens.
All these years, I’ve held my truth hostage. I guarded it – kept it locked away safe and secure thinking that one day my success will outweigh my past, not realizing that my past was the key to my success all along. (Success to me has nothing to do with money. Success is building authentic relationships. It’s giving to others what money cannot buy. It’s building a legacy for my family and it’s having a clean heart in the eyes of God.) I’ve come to realize, that real success is not accessible without having the courage to share my true self with others.
I can’t wait to share my story with you in my new book. Stay tuned….