Amy Rees Anderson

Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Story, It Will Inspire Others

Everyone has a story…a history…a series of failures and mistakes that have shaped them into the person they are today.  I, for one, believe we shouldn’t be ashamed of our story. Our story is what helped us become the person we are. That story is what taught us great life lessons that we might not have learned otherwise. That story is what will help us make better and wiser decisions in our future. That story is who we are…it is us.

When I hear others share their life stories, it is those mishaps and failures and even mistakes that end up having the most profound impact on me. Their stories of overcoming hardships, and standing up after falling down…those are what inspire me to want to be better in my own life. Those stories are what speak to our hearts. And how unfortunate would it be if those stories hadn’t been shared by that person….how different would my life have turned out if I hadn’t been inspired by hearing from them?

I remember in Elementary School having a speaker come in and share his story of how he had bullied another boy until that boy he bullied became so distraught that he took his own life. Now this boy that did the bullying was sharing how sorry he was for what he had done and how much he wished that he could take back the teasing and the bullying so that other boy would still be here today. Hearing this boys story made my stomach sick, but it also helped me understand at a young age that our words matter, even when they are said in a teasing or sarcastic way…they hurt. And we can’t take back the words once they leave our mouths. Hearing his story inspired me to want to be careful with my own words in life.

I remember in Jr High School a woman who had been a drug addict came and spoke to us about her struggles with drug addiction. She shared how it took over her entire life to the point that she had given up all of her agency to the drugs. She even shared how she tried to cut off her own hand while high on acid because she thought her limbs could pop off and on again. She then shared how she changed her life and overcame her addiction. I can tell you that the impact of her story was so powerful that I never once felt tempted in my life to try drugs. Not even a little bit. I think her story had a little to do with that.

I remember as a young adult hearing a business person share the story of their multiple failures before they found success. Hearing his story helped me to recognize that the times we fail aren’t really failures so long as we get back up and learn something from them that makes us better going forward. Hearing his story inspired me so much that it helped me to have the courage to try and fail and keep getting back up until I found my own success.

Never be ashamed of your story and never discount the impact it may have in someone else’s life. Let your mistakes and your failures inspire others to do better in their own life…then feel good about knowing that the things you overcame have helped inspire others for good.

~Amy

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