Sometimes people make glib comments about personal storytelling being indulgent, self serving and self absorbed. This can be taken on by some of the people I work with who say, even as they are drawn to personal storytelling, that they feel too self conscious or feel it is too self-centred, to share their stories.
This is thinking that must be examined and debunked if we are actually to tell our stories in ways that enable us to develop and fully use our voice as a means of self expression, and be helpful for others.
Exploring, understanding and expressing who we are, what we believe and feel is a core task of living. We are meaning making machines, but unless we reflect, and consciously share our experiences, in thoughtful and meaningful ways, we risk being reactive, and unconscious, and relating to ourselves and therefore each other in superficial ways.
If we are feeling self conscious when we tell then we are ironically doing exactly what we are afraid we would be doing - we are making the story all about us. It is when we share our story with the sole purpose of offering it, and the meaning making we have done through our story, as a gift, that we then step into our voice and express ourselves in the age old and sacred way of human communication. It is an act of leadership, and we are hungry to be lead, we are hungry to explore behind the masks we all wear, to feel, and grapple with what it means to be human.
This is an act of trust, trust in ourselves that our voice is worthy, trust in the audience that what we offer will resonate with at least one person who is listening, and we share as a gift and so ensure we are trustworthy, telling the right story for that time place and audience.