How sharing helped me grow

Written by Carly Jeffrey

I've always felt like I've had a story to tell. I've always loved reading, writing and ultimately words. I've always been that person that writes long handwritten notes, intensely personalised birthday cards, poems for special occasions and text messages that might as well have been novels. But what I never realised was that the story worth telling, the story that would reach people most, was my story.

I remember vividly the night I attended a wonderful Women's Wellness seminar run by Jaya Taki about mental and emotional health. I'd had the worst day and found myself glued to the seat as Leola unpacked her story of brain injury, rehabilitation and moving forward. I hung off every word and couldn't type notes into my phone fast enough. Something she said has stuck with me since "If tomorrow wasn't promised, how would you live?" 

As she stated, life is short. Love what you do and don't waste your time. I felt compelled to reassess my life and my perspective, which I had somewhat been doing already. But this pushed me further along on my self discovery and self development journey. I started reading "self help" books, following inspiring people on instagram and actively trying to be the best version of myself.

All the while I felt compelled to return to things I had loved as a child, particularly creative and expressive pursuits such as writing and blogging. I started a personal blog that chronicled aspects of my life e.g. teaching, mental health, mental illness, relationships and friendships. It all felt so cathartic and therapeutic. 

Each time I wrote a piece, I owned another part of myself and my story.

I admitted to my inner workings and my internal struggles. And instead of the judgement, guilt and shame I expected, I was met with support, positivity and encouragement. I was slowly but surely healing years of mental patterning and emotional scarring, one word at a time.

So, naturally, when Leola advertised an opportunity to speak and share my story I was intrigued. I went through phases of anxiety (because I was out of my comfort zone), depression (because I kept comparing myself and creating an illogical competition with others) and obsessive-compulsion (because I wanted it to be PERFECT) but I finally got over the line and spread my message with a room of friends, family and friendly strangers.

I felt incredibly supported and touched by my audience as I shared years of trauma, mental conditioning and anguish with them. There was a magical sense of relief that I found in allowing myself to be vulnerable; stripping myself bare emotionally layer, by layer and revealing my innermost thoughts. I left the stage feeling lighter, freer and most of all, empowered. 

It was magical to share the stage with two other incredibly strong, powerful women and the space with such encouraging, caring and interested people. I loved connecting with people throughout the night who resonated with my story. It makes you realise you're not as isolated as you think.