Establish who you are as a person; boundaries and all.
Speakers often rely on stories to drive a point home; to resonate and connect with the audience in front of them. Watch a presidential state of the union address and you will, no doubt, find the president at some point pointing to the upstairs gallery and recognizing a person to highlight an existing need or new policy. Or a charity will tell the story of a family to demonstrate why it (the charity and the family) needs your donation.
Hearing (and understanding) the stories of others helps us connect to issues we might not otherwise comprehend or feel.
Yet, there is another story that resonates and needs to be shared. Your story in your voice. When we can authentically share in a deliberative dialogue our stories with one another we stand a better chance of connecting and bonding.
Three books I checked out from the local public library highlighted, in different ways, this important point of finding your voice.
Brené Brown’s Rising Strong addresses reckoning with a difficult situation and understanding the story behind the circumstances—and how you fit and why you react as you do. It’s difficult to solve a conflict if the specifics are not in place. You must understand the story—your story and how others fit into the story.
The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu offers a four-step path to embracing forgiveness. Before the hurt we feel can be reconciled, they maintain, we must first tell the story—what happened, how it happened, why it happened, who was involved and so on. Tutu maintains before we can name the hurt, we first must understand the story—our story and that of the others involved in the story.
Harriet Lerner says before can connect with anyone else we first must find our voice. In The Dance of Connection she states, “We are all in this soup together” and must “speak wisely and well” in order to find our voice.
A recent online article offered advice on “how to make friends as an adult.” It presented important tips and strategies like be a good listener, volunteer in your community to meet new contacts, and engage in social meetups. All good points. Yet, there is, I believe, another critical step.
You have to make sure you tell people your story. Not a blow by blow account of all the ups, downs, and stalls. Not a doctoral thesis. Not a collective monologue. Rather, establish who you are as a person; boundaries and all.
As Lerner stated, we must “know our bottom line. That is, the values, beliefs, and priorities that are so crucial to preserving and protecting the self that we will not compromise them in any relationship.” (p. 3) That bottom line underscores a major part of our story.
What is your story—and how do you share it appropriately and authentically?
Video recommendation for the week.
Of course, there is another piece to this story about your story: Sometimes our stories are incomplete–just like those of others. In this TED Talk, therapist Lori Gottlieb reminds us that the freedom to tell our stories comes with a catch: We have to take responsibility for our story.
Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.
You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click here.
My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.
And you can still order:
- Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
- Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.
You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida