You don’t owe anyone your story.
We are living in an unprecedented period that incentivizes hyper-personal, nonstop sharing about ourselves. Vulnerability, with its many benefits, is finally having its moment – and thank goodness for that.
It also, though, creates pressure for some folks to feel like they have to disclose every painful detail of their lives, in order to get likes and be “authentic” – especially among aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to build their brand.
For those with unprocessed trauma or wounds that are still raw, this can seem like a terrifying proposition.
Many of my clients and mentees feel torn between two bad options in a false dichotomy: either spill your guts immediately and face possible judgment and revictimization, or stay silent and obsolete in a world where self-disclosure is the new currency.
As with most things in life, there is a middle path.
Vulnerability is not an all-or-nothing proposition, despite the viral success of many tell-all exposé social media posts we all see on a weekly basis.
There are layers of truth to every story, and we get to choose how deep we let people see in any given situation. The good news is, other people can’t read your mind and aren’t paying enough attention to notice if you omit some stuff that’s not ready for prime-time yet. (Case in point: I am regularly surprised when people say they were moved by my story, when the vast majority of it is still not something I share publicly.)
Processing your story and healing enough to own it is important, but WHY you’re doing that work is equally important: do it for your own sake, not so you can package it up for the consumption of the social media masses. Your first responsibility is to create safety for yourself.
Care for and protect the tender parts of your journey like a loving parent would. The processing, and sharing if appropriate, will follow in its own time. Your story, whenever you choose to let it out into the world, will be that much more powerful as a result. Wait until you are ready to shine your light from a position of strength and groundedness – what you’ve lived through deserves as much.