I was with a group of people recently, and someone was sharing about a very dark time in their life and how she turned things around to the life she has today. Shortly after her sharing her story someone else chimed in to share a time when things were dark in their life, and make a comment like her story was a walk in the park compared to his. My heart sank a little in that moment for the person who had first spoken up, because by doing what he did it seemed like he was saying that her story wasn’t nearly as bad as his and so not as valid. We all have things we experience, good and bad, and it’s important that we honor those experiences in each other and not try to diminish them or one-up each other to come up with the worst, or best, story, it’s about listening and giving that person their moment.
Before stepping on this path I was guilty of doing just that, many times, trying to take someone’s moment by coming up with some bigger, better, or badder, story to share. I realize now that I was doing that to make myself feel better, because I felt less than, and by taking away someone else’s experience as being valid it would inflate my ego and steal the spotlight from them. That behavior sounds disgusting as I see it in print so many years removed from it, but I did it regularly for most of my life.
We all have our own journey and path ahead of us, all of our experiences are valid and ours to own and share with others, they are what have made us who we are, have taught us what we’ve needed to learn, or have given us hope when we’ve needed it. No one has the right to take any of those away from us, and really, no one can unless we let them. The woman who had first shared her story took that moment in stride, she smiled, understanding what was going on, and knew that her story was an integral part of her journey, and perhaps by the man sharing his even darker story right after, may have also shown her that things could get worse if she chose to return to the life that had gotten her to that dark place years ago. Really, it’s all about perception, and how we choose to receive the information we’re being given. As much as I was annoyed by the man who tried to steal her moment, I realized that everything happens for a reason, and perhaps that woman needed to hear how bad things had gotten for him to put things in perspective for herself, or to find some gratitude that she didn’t have to do down that far to realize she needed to find a way out.
Most times, all anyone really wants is to be heard. No matter what the situation, we all want our story, thoughts, and ideas to be heard, and it’s important to give those moments to those we come into contact with. As I learned to walk on this path I had to learn to listen, without interrupting, and honor each person’s story, concern, or idea before chiming in with my two cents, and, learning that I should only be offering my 2 cents if asked for it, that person may not want it and may just need someone to listen without interruption or a rebuttal.
Each time we find ourselves in a situation where someone is sharing themselves it’s important to give them their moment, and if there is an appropriate time and it seems right to share our experience in relation to that then by all means chime in, as long as you’re adding something positive or constructive to the conversation without taking away from someone else’s experience. We all have a right to have our own experiences, and no one’s is more important than the ones we’re having ourselves, those moments help us grow, guide us, and give us strength, and no one can take that away from us. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you feel like you have to one-up someone when they are sharing a story or telling about an experience they’ve had? Why do you think you feel you need to do that? What does that say about you? How do you feel when someone does that to you? Have you told someone in the moment how that makes you feel? If not, why not? Do you see how each of us have the right to the experiences and stories we’ve had and have the right to share those experiences with others? All of our experiences are important, they make up the fabric of our lives, don’t let anyone try to take those away from you, and, don’t try to take someone else’s away to try to make yours seem more important. We all get to share our stories.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you