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There was a classic movie made way back in 1996.  It was chock full of memorable lines and was an introspective examination (if not near documentary) into the cultural characteristics of the 20something male.  It looked at the delicate interactions between men and women and the proper way to approach the fairer sex.  It delved into the special bond of male friendship and the value of mentoring.  Yes, that movie was Swingers.  Early on in that movie while courting a couple of young ladies the mentor had just gotten done telling a great story that had everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves.  The mentee (if you will) replied, “well, we all have stories.”

Sadly, at that point, he did not.  Everyone looked at him ready to hear his story.  He folded.  Now, does this mean that he, in fact, does not have a story.  No.  You see, he was right.  We all have stories.  Granted, he could not tell a story like his friend.  Not even close.  Yet, he did have a story…and we all do.

Now, if you are astute you may be thinking, “Jay, you already covered this in your “Wisdom in a Tire Shop” post.”  To a degree, yes I did.  However, the focus of that post was outward.  Be kind and mindful that everyone is facing something.  Now, I hope and pray that you would look to yourself.

As I was sitting down to write some posts I ran into an old friend.  He asked how I was and I asked him if he knew of Trey’s condition.  He said yes and shared with me a horrible story about his youngest son facing a progressive debilitating syndrome.  In no way was it life threatening, but it was very life altering, for all involved.  My heart shattered for this guy and I almost started to cry.  I didn’t mostly because he clearly did not want me to and probably would have as well.  However, the situation reminded me, no, screamed at me “WE ALL HAVE STORIES!”

Again, I reflect back to my post on perspective.  It doesn’t really help you to rationalize your problems away by looking at someone who has it “worse.”  It doesn’t help you to make yourself feel guilty for feeling bad about your problems.  You can’t suck it up, you can’t ignore it, you can’t look at the brighter side (ok, shouldn’t shouldn’t shouldn’t).  You need to tell it, feel it, and use it.

You have to tell your story.  My man in Swingers did have a story.  He was just unable to share it at the time and didn’t share it.  We are very often the same way.  We don’t want to “bother” others, we don’t feel important enough, we don’t want to appear weak, etc.  We keep it inside and tell no one.  Maybe you’ve been hurt when you shared your story and it was met with some tremendously disappointing reaction if not straight hurtful replies.  I’m sorry that happened.  You have to find your go to person who will love you, listen to you, and cry with you.  If you don’t tell your story it will fly out of your life in so many other ways.  Screaming in traffic, screaming at your kids (when they do or don’t deserve it), staying longer at work, not doing well at work, avoiding everyone else in your life, drinking more, sleeping less, sleeping more, doing less, the list goes on.  Tell your story to someone who will listen, and feel for you.  They are out there…find them.  One quick disclaimer, find one or at most a couple of people.  Don’t tell everyone all of your problems (or post them ALL online ALL of the time) no one likes that person.

Not only do you need someone to feel for you, YOU have to feel your pain.  Too often we have felt it for too long.  This is different.  You have to feel it with someone who will join you in your pain.  I was told once, “Grief without comfort is pointless.”  Brilliant!!!  Tears alone just make us sad.  Tears with others bring healing.  No longer will you be able to remember the pain without remembering that someone shared that pain with you.  At THAT point, healing can begin.

Then, you can go ahead and use it.  Use what?  Whatever it is that you have learned through your story, that’s what.  More often than not it will be a hurt for those who are honest enough to admit that they are hurting.  Other things will be useful as well but your heart will grown, your love will grow, you will be used to comfort others.

Lastly, these “stories” happen everyday.  Granted, we all have significant moments of hurt and pain that we need to tell, feel and use.  Yet, we also have little moments each day as well.  I hope and pray that there is someone or a couple of someone’s who will be able to help you get through the “stories” that each day brings.  If you can get there, you’ll be money…and you won’t even know it (the last line is for the 8 of you who have actually watched Swingers).

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