Family stories are the threads that bind generations together. They are the tales of the past that have been passed down from one family member to the next. The stories of love, loss, triumph, and tragedy define your family's history.
However, not all family members are willing to share their stories. There are various reasons why some people are hesitant to open up and share their life experiences with their loved ones. Let’s discuss the top 7 excuses that family members give for not telling their stories!
"My Life is Uninteresting."
Some people feel that their experiences are unimportant enough to be shared with others, and they don't want to bore anyone with mundane details. Your life is unique and valuable, regardless of how unexciting or uneventful it may seem.
Memoirs are the fastest-growing category of non-fiction books. Remarkably, these are memoirs of ‘ordinary’ people, not celebrities. This shows that more and more ‘ordinary’ people want to write about their lives. At the same time, more and more people want to read about the lives of people ‘just like them.’
Why? Because often, the most meaningful stories come from the small, everyday moments that make up our lives. These moments offer insight into our family member's personalities, values, and beliefs and can help connect the generations. For example, a story about your grandmother's daily cooking routine might reveal her work ethic and dedication, while a story about your father's commute to work reveals his perseverance.
A study found that children had stronger self-esteem, higher levels of social competence, higher quality friendships, and less worry and tension in families who told their family stories. Everyone has stories to tell, and each person's experiences are valid and worth sharing. If you are still hesitant, consider the impact your stories may have on others. Who knows who might be inspired or comforted by hearing about your experiences? Never underestimate the power of your own story!
"I’m Not Sure If Anyone Would Care."
The feeling of not mattering to anyone can be a distressing experience, particularly for older adults who may already be facing other age-related challenges. Loneliness and social isolation can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline.
However, everyone has a unique and valuable perspective, and many would benefit from hearing your story. Sharing your experiences can be a powerful way to connect with others and create a sense of community. When we share our vulnerabilities and struggles, we often find others who can relate and offer support and encouragement. This is especially true for older adults, who may have valuable insights and wisdom to share with younger generations. Moreover, sharing your story can have a positive impact on your well-being. Research suggests that talking about our experiences can help us process and make sense of our emotions.
If you are hesitant to share your story, talk to a trusted friend or family member, reach out to a support group or therapist, or consider sharing your story online. My Stories Matter is designed to give everyday people a positive environment to safely and privately share stories.
"I Don't Want to Come Across as Narcissistic."
Some people hesitate to share their stories because they worry about being perceived as self-centered or selfish. They may feel that talking about their own experiences is boastful or egotistical.
Traditional social media platforms design algorithms to encourage users to post content for social validation or even notoriety. Studies have shown that using those platforms is leading to increased rates of anxiety and depression, especially among teenage girls.
My Stories Matter is the opposite of traditional social media. We believe that sharing personal stories does not have to be about seeking attention or social approval. Sharing your stories can also be a powerful tool for personal growth, self-discovery, or inspiring and helping others.
Storytelling is in humanity’s DNA. The delivery mechanism has changed over the centuries, from the Epic of Gilgamesh on clay tablets to the oral parables in biblical times, the printed word, and digital technology. At My Stories Matter, we don’t believe that ‘tweets’ or ‘memes’ are the evolutionary pinnacles of how we communicate. Nor are they a substitute for meaningful connection.
In addition to storytelling's vital role in memorializing events and people, it has also been a means, across all cultures, of passing on knowledge and wisdom to the next generation. My Stories Matter is designed to be a bridge between generations. We believe there is value in preserving content that records the experiences, knowledge, and wisdom we accumulate over time. Our stories can benefit others as they move through the various stages of their personal and professional lives.
If you are hesitant to share your story, try reframing your perspective; you inspire others to share their own stories and create a more profound sense of empathy and understanding within your family. According to a study cited in Metro UK, people tend to stop caring about what others think of them around the age of 46! Why wait? Embrace who you are; it will make you happier as you age.
"I Don't Remember the Details."
Memories can fade over time; some family members may feel they don't remember enough details about their past to share their stories. They may worry that they will need help to provide an accurate and complete account of their experiences.
Memories are subjective; even if you don't know all the details, you can still share the essence of your experiences, emotions, and reflections. Don't let a lack of detailed memories keep you from sharing your story with your loved ones!
In fact, My Stories Matter has many features that specifically address the “Memory Gap.” We understand one of the paradoxes of life; the older we get, the more experiences, knowledge, and wisdom we gain, yet our ability to remember them declines.
Reliving memories are beneficial to our mental and emotional well-being. My Stories Matter provides tips on using all five senses to create a vivid and immersive experience. Reliving memories can bring joy and gratitude into our lives and encourage us to take the time to cherish our cherished memories. Your siblings, children, and grandchildren will thank you!
"I Don’t Want to Show Vulnerability."
You may think that discussing past events will only reopen old wounds and cause unnecessary tension within the family. You might be worried about being judged or the pain from revisiting past trauma. However, bottling up negative emotions such as anger, sorrow, or anxiety can be unhealthy for your mind and body.
Creating a private fear journal on My Stories Matter can help you put your fears into perspective and process them objectively. Sharing your stories can also be a powerful way of healing past wounds. By expressing your perspective and experiences, you can create a more empathetic and compassionate community.
Vulnerability can be a strength! According to an article in Harvard Business Review, vulnerability can be a crucial trait of influential leaders. Leaders willing to share their vulnerabilities and personal stories create a sense of authenticity and trust with their team members, which can ultimately lead to tremendous success and productivity!
“I Don’t Have the Skills to Write.”
Some people may hesitate to write their stories because they feel they need more skills or talent. Like any skill, writing can be developed with practice and effort. William Faulkner said it best: “The problems of the human heart in conflict with itself ... alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat."
Many resources, such as My Stories Matter’s Writer Helper, can help you develop the necessary skills to tell your story effectively. Additionally, to find a comfortable and authentic style, there are many different ways to tell a story, including through anecdotes, poetry, and memoir. My Stories Matter helps with all of this!
“It Takes Too Much Time.”
Some people may feel too busy with other responsibilities or need more time to tell their stories. However, telling your story does not have to be a time-consuming process. It can be as simple as setting aside a few minutes daily to jot down your thoughts and experiences or recording a voice memo on your phone during your commute or lunch break. Our Writer Helper is specifically built to help you save time!
Over time, these small efforts can add up to a rich and meaningful account of your life. Darren Hardy talks about this in his bestseller, “The Compound Effect” - how small, consistent actions taken over a long period can lead to significant and positive changes in your life!
Additionally, research suggests that many of us overestimate how busy we are. As an article in Inc. notes, studies have shown that people tend to inflate how much time they spend on work-related tasks and underestimate their available leisure time. In other words, you may have more time available than you realize. Use some of that time to preserve your stories for your family, friends, and others to benefit from. By reflecting on your experiences and emotions, you can gain greater clarity and purpose, which can help you prioritize your time more effectively and make better decisions.
Tell Your Story on My Stories Matter
If you're interested in sharing your story but need help figuring out where to start, consider using My Stories Matter. My Stories Matter empowers you to share your experiences with others in a safe, engaging environment.
Using the platform is simple - just sign up for an account (it’s free!) and begin writing your story. You can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. You always have full control over who can read your stories.
The My Stories Matter community comprises people from all walks of life. Whether you want to share your experiences about a particular topic, offer advice or inspiration, or simply want to engage with others, My Stories Matter provides a supportive space to do so.
Ultimately, sharing family stories can benefit both the storyteller and the listener. It can create a deeper empathy and understanding within the family and help preserve important family history. My Stories Matter provides a safe way to share personal stories and connect with others in a meaningful way.