The importance of sharing your story

If the internet has taught us one thing, it’s that everyone has a story – and we love to share them. But storytelling has always been a big part of society and relationships. First Nations people use stories that date back tens of thousands of years to pass history and culture from one generation to the next.At ReachOut, we use stories to talk about real issues and real lives. (Make sure you check out the stories of Jordan and David). We believe in giving young people a place to share their stories, which can help bring people together. There’s lots of positives to sharing your story and, depending on what you’re cool with, many different ways to do it.

Why your story matters

Ever listened to someone talk about their life and thought ‘Oh, someone else has been through that, too? I thought it was just me!’ Finding similarities with other people helps us live happy and healthy lives. Your life may feel ordinary to you, but it might seem extraordinary to someone else. Every story shared is a chance to make someone feel less alone. Here, Bianca talks about values she hopes to role model for young women across Australia.

How to share your story

There’s a tonne of ways to share your story. The most important thing is that you feel safe and comfortable with however you choose to do it. If you’re nervous, try to think beforehand about what you’d like to say, or bang out a draft before you hit ‘post’. If you feel the need to get personal stuff off your chest, find someone you trust to share it with and give yourself as much time as you need.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started:

  • Understand that sharing your story is a scary thing to do – whether you’re speaking to one person or a hundred. Acknowledging this will help you to tackle your nerves and to use that energy in a positive way.

  • Practise, practise, practise! As with most things in life, practise makes everything easier. Know what you want to say and how you want to say it, and you’ll be in a good place to succeed.

  • Use your emotions for good. Take people on a journey so that they can feel and understand things from your perspective.

  • If you want the person/people you’re sharing with to do something, remember to make this clear. If you ask directly for what you want, you’re more likely to get it.

Where to share your story

There’s no right way to tell your story – it’s yours to tell, so share it in the way that works best for you. You might be happiest doing it sitting down with your best friend, your mum or dad, or a relative you look up to. Maybe you’d prefer to put it in writing and share it online, or to record it on a podcast.

ReachOut has a few different ways to help you start talking. You can sign up to be a volunteer and share your experience in our videos or with the media, or you could jump on to one of our forums and share anonymously.

Why sharing your story is important

Being young can sometimes be frustrating, especially if you feel like you have no power. But you do have power, and a lot more than you might realise! Speaking up about your experiences, and about what’s important to you, is an easy and effective way to create change, start conversations and connect with the people around you.

What can I do now?