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How Sharing Your Story Can Change Your Life
Nearly a billion people are suffering from mental health disorders worldwide. From the outside looking in many wouldn’t know that I’ve struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. I look happy, “successful” and full of life. I post pictures of my husband and 3 kids. I dress my cat up for photo shoots in my backyard. I share periodic photos of the hair salon I have owned for 11 years and video clips of my family and me traveling around the world. I even did a TEDx talk. I look like I have it all together. The truth is I am very happy (most of the time). I love my life, and at the same time I still have mental health challenges… looks can be deceiving and mental health is often invisible.
There are so many different types of mental illnesses, and I am one of the 280 million people in the world who suffers from depression. Everyone’s journey is unique and there are many methods of healing or managing these diseases. What works for one person often does not work for another.
Multiple things have helped me along my journey. I tried yoga, spiritual practices, exercise, journaling, therapy, dietary changes, and more. All of those things helped me. However, I found the most healing when I embraced my truth and shared my story.
According to Psychology Today there is power in sharing our stories, even the things we may feel are taboo. What does sharing your story mean? It could be open conversations with family and friends, a blog, writing a book, podcast interviews, or speaking on stages all over the world. There is no right or wrong way to embrace your truth and share it with others.
Sharing my story gave me 3 huge gifts.
The more I opened up about the things I have been through, the more acceptance I gained for myself and others. I was able to see how my challenges shaped who I am and in turn gave me many gifts I could not see at the time (strength, perseverance, and empathy among others).
My first suicide attempt was when I was 9 years old, and my second attempt I was 16. My challenges continued and escalated into full-blown addiction and homelessness by the time I was in my teens. A lot of things happened along that journey that I was not proud of and for a long time, I tortured myself with those memories. Once I accepted that I couldn’t change the past so I might as well embrace it, my whole life changed.
The energy we give ourselves often extends to other people as well. So as I removed the need to be perfect, I unconsciously gave others the same grace. We are all moving through life, doing the best we can. With that perspective, I literally felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.
Challenge: Begin a gratitude journal. Writing down all the things you are grateful for will help you accept all the layers of your journey.
I realized my own strength when I overcame things I never thought I could and survived situations that almost broke me. I reached a new level of empowerment when I learned to stand unapologetically in my truth.
I remember the first time I stood in front of a room full of people and opened up about some of my most personal experiences. I was absolutely terrified. However, when I finished I felt a strength I had never known. I had fully accepted my past and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought.
But you know what’s amazing? People are almost always rooting for you. You will usually be met with warmth, kindness, and encouragement when you share your personal story.
Challenge: Think about one thing in your life that you overcame and share it with another person. It could be through a social media post, phone call, or 1-1 conversation.
Most new chapters start with a yes. Yes to new experiences, yes to being vulnerable, and yes to seeing where life will take you. I have seen so many lives changed when they said yes to sharing their stories. In turn, they helped others overcome their own challenges.
A client of mine went through my 90 Day Book Writing Challenge and wrote two books in our time together. One day we were on the phone and she broke down in tears telling me how amazing it felt to speak her truth. It was a healing journey for her and her own gift to the world.
I said yes to sharing my story and it led to me writing a book, speaking on stages, and connecting with women all over the world.
I was absolutely terrified but said yes to telling very intimate parts of my life on one of the biggest stages in the world. My 1st TEDx- 3 Keys To Being Unstoppable came out recently. I would love for you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. I want to hear what you have overcome, how you became unstoppable, and the strengths you have gained.
I’d like to ask you- what part of yourself have you been hiding? What part of your story would you like to share with the world? And finally, where could saying yes take you?
Name: Natasha Ickes-Saman
Professional Title: Salon Owner, Author, Motivational Speaker
Bio: Natasha Ickes-Saman is a salon owner, 2x best-selling and award-winning author, and 2x TEDx speaker with a Professional Communications Certification through Harvard. She has been featured in multiple publications from MunaLuchi Bridal to the LA Tribune and Hudson Weekly. She was the 2019 recipient of a Certificate of Recognition from the California Senate. She regularly provides free haircuts in homeless shelters throughout the Bay Area. Her passion is to teach women how to find their voice, share their stories and transform their lives in the process.
Website: Natasha Ickes Saman
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