Your Story of Pain Is Not More or Less Important Than Anyone Else's
Looking back, there have been so many times in my life when I felt like my story didn’t matter, for reasons that aren’t entirely logical. I often felt there were so many others who had more profound stories than mine is — those who had been through more intense experiences and circumstances. I think we live in a society that suggests we need to one-up each other with who has the worst story. As if brokenness and bad experiences are some sort of competition to see who has had it the toughest.
Lately, I’ve come to understand that my story matters too. I recently gave a talk at my university about my story, and for the entire time leading up to this talk, I had so much anxiety. Some of it was fear of being vulnerable, but a lot of it came from the unsettling feeling that no one would think it mattered because my story wasn’t as bad as someone else’s. I became so frozen by this idea that I had almost tried to back out of giving my talk. Why do we do this? Why do we feel the need to constantly compare illnesses and experiences?
Through this, I learned that my story of pain is just as valid as someone else’s story of sickness. All of our stories matter because we have all experienced different struggles. My
story of chronic pain is much different from that of someone who has another disease affecting another body system.
It’s important to tell your story because there is likely someone out there struggling with something similar who needs to hear what you have to say — who needs at least some fraction of hope to believe that if you can do it, they can too.
Your story is important because you’re living it. Because you are experiencing it and your experiences matter. Your life matters. Don’t be afraid to tell your story just because you may think someone else has a story that is “worse” or “better.” The world needs to hear what you have to say for the simple fact that you and you alone have experienced it. And what you’ve experienced matters.
Photo by Doug Robichaud on Unsplash