life changing shared stories
Community,  Friends,  Neighbors

The Life-Changing Effect of Shared Stories

Our Beautiful And Painful Stories


Some time ago, a friend mentioned that she loves sitting with people who are authentic and vulnerable, showing her what love looks like. I soon found myself doing exactly that, and loving every minute of it! It was a weekend of authenticity, connection, shared stories, and vulnerable confessions from the heart with friends, family, neighbors, and strangers.

One of my favorite moments of vulnerability from the weekend was when a woman I’ve known for many years shared with a large group of women a few of her past personal struggles. Over the years, I’ve often driven by her gorgeous home and thought to myself, “She has the perfect home and the perfect little family. She has it all.” Little did I know of the constant struggles she faced with the majority of her children.

Hard problems.

Painful problems.

All-consuming problems.

Year after year after year.

As I listened to her tearfully share the lessons she learned from these experiences, I was filled with immense compassion for her. Compassion and respect for everything she’s been through, and admiration for the person she’s become. She didn’t let the past get the best of her, and she has great hope for the future.

The next time I drive past her house, I just might tear up a bit as I reflect upon the “perfect” life that turned out to not be so perfect after all. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even drop off a bouquet of flowers. Afterall, she deserves an extra dose of love and encouragement. We all do.



Do you ever wonder what it would be like to hear the stories of the people around you? The story of your kind neighbor, the woman who cut you off in traffic, the teenager serving time in prison, the person who just made headline news? What led them to become who they are today?

How might our impressions of them change if we knew their story? How might hearing stories bring more light and hope into the world?

When was the last time you heard someone’s story?

When was the last time you shared your own?


Day 29 Challenge: Invite someone to share part of their story with you. Later, share a portion of your story with someone else. See if doing so doesn’t change your perspective on humanity. Take a few minutes to record in your journal a memorable moment from your life.


**This page contains affiliate links. You can view my full disclosure HERE.


This is Day 29 of my Write 31 Days series for 2017: 31 Days to an Authentic Life.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please click HERE.



** This post may contain affiliate links.

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  • Jennifer Wise

    I love this!! I wish more people understood how true this is. Shared stories help us be more compassionate, understanding, and kind. They build connections. They make us all more real. I love that you used the word “humanity.” My business is essentially about recording your story, so I particularly appreciate your perspective shared here. PINNING! 🙂

  • Becca

    Absolutely a great reminder to dive a little deeper with those around us. I love the point about stories changing our perspective on humanity.

  • Mary Leigh

    Such a great post. There is so much value in sharing your stories. Not only does it allow you to share the weight of them with others willing to shoulder it with you, but you invite others to do the same. Vulnerability allows others to also open up and share their heart with you.

  • Molly | My Sweet Lilac

    My goodness. What truth wrapped up in this post! It is so easy to compare our worst to someone else’s best (especially in material measures, like a home). What a beautiful reminder to stop and listen to the people behind all the “things”.

  • Sarah Ruszkowski

    Hearing the stories of other people is my most favorite thing in the world. And I have a habit of saying, “Let me tell you a story.” It draws people into the conversation. I LOVE IT!!!! 😀

  • Joy DeKok

    This post is so wise! I am a firm believer that we have been wired by God for story – His and the stories of those He sends into our lives. That means we’re also wired to share ours. It’s been said that if we don’t share our stories, they will be gone within one generation. I’m so glad for this reminder. Thank you! I hope to hear someone’s story today.

  • Denise

    This hits so close to home, my blog is all about my stories that I believe inspire, teach and can be relatable, I love sharing stories and hearing about people.

  • Melissa Javan

    Interesting post. I was thinking about this the other day, husband is a musician so sometimes we meet people at shows he does, then I hear people’s stories and find that we may have different cultures but we have similar hardships. I love hearing people’s stories.

  • Kalyn

    I love this post! This is exactly WHY I wanted to start a blog in the first place. Sharing my struggles with others provides solidarity at the very least. I have a very small audience as of now, mainly friends and family, but I’ve had several reach out to me about various things in my blog posts.

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