I plan to write a blog post someday soon that tells my story. My life isn’t any more noteworthy than any one else’s – I haven’t been kidnapped by pirates, or walked across continents – but I do have a story that routes where I am today.
I haven’t always been transparent about my life. Not that I have lied about anything, but I haven’t really been very open or public when times have been dark. I just didn’t think that it was worth mentioning at the time. Everyone has their own issues.
But over the years I have come to the conclusion that we do need to tell our story, and be transparent about our lives.
One reason is so people can get a real perspective of who you are, what you are experiencing and how your life is. I have had a few people say to me over the years “Oh, you are so lucky”. And yes, I am blessed – we all are in some ways. But what they are envying by saying ‘you are so lucky’ wasn’t something that was handed to me on a plate, and not chewed without choking or burning myself.
I remember one time a friend had said something along the lines of ‘you are so lucky, I can’t imagine you having any problems’. She was at the time lacking self confidence about her physical appearance and perhaps wasn’t in the best place in her life for that moment. I had met her in a coffee shop and I was looking unusually sharp and well dressed. I was on my way after our meet-up to sign over the house I had bought the previous year. It had been a tough few months: I was living in a town I didn’t fit in, my dear sister (also my best friend) had recently moved back to the UK, leaving me almost alone in that foreign town, my darling cat had unexpectedly died, my house had been broken into twice, and I was going through a major shift in my life that left me feeling very alone and misunderstood. That day I had decided to pick myself up, put on a suit and start a new chapter. But she didn’t know that!
By being transparent (and by that I mean open, and not boring people to death with constant moaning without action to remedy your problems) not only can people learn from our experiences, but it also helps them feel less alone. They are not the only ones suffering, or finding life a challenge. And if they admire your life, they may feel inspired to see that you have actually had to work to get where you are at. Not just ‘born lucky”. Which means that they too have potential for great things.
A great example of this was when I read the blog of Selma Melngailis, co-author of Raw Food Real World, and owner of Pure food and Wine restaurant in NYC. Looking at the book, one can be led to believe that gorgeous Selma has a good life, with her equally gorgeous boyfriend/business partner, working with things she loves, surrounded by healthy raw food (and therefore has no problems with sticking to a healthy diet). But Selma’s blog revealed that her life was not quite like that. And indeed people had said to her ‘you have the perfect life’, not knowing of the issues she faced and the challenges she needed to overcome.
I certainly do not rejoice in other people’s suffering (far from it) but it is encouraging to know that we all have challenges to overcome, and that people we perceive as highly successful are still human. They do still have issues to deal with, and despite their success they can still be unsure of themselves and do appreciate to hear positive feedback on the work that they do.