How to make your story work for you!
Written by Jantien (29)
Life Challenge of Jantien
How to make your story work for you!
“Stories make all pain bearable”
I remember that this quote was painted on the wall in my classroom during my studies journalism. And I also remember how I found that complete bullshit. I believed that there was nothing that could possibly make all pain bearable. ‘They’ had no idea what they were talking about. That was for sure.
Now, about eight years later, I started to believe ‘them’. Stories do make all pain bearable. And not only that. Stories make life worthwhile, they give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and they make you want to kick some ass!
You just have to be brave enough to face your story and shine some light on it.
This is my story
For years, I didn’t dare to really face my story. It was too painful, too personal and I was too ashamed. I’ve had vaginismus for about five years. I would love to dive into this topic a bit deeper, but that’s not what this story is all about. The short version: my body was super tense all the time and therefore I couldn’t have sex. Penetration was just not possible. I wrote a story about this and I think it’s important for everyone to read it. It’s called: living with vaginismus.
Because of this, I felt super lonely. There was nobody who understood me, simply because nobody knew about my problems. Not even my very best friend. I hated myself and my body and I did anything to hate it less. I worked out a lot, worked my ass off in my job and at school. Everything that I could control, I was controlling. Anything to keep my mind off of my problems. Off of my story so that I didn’t have to face it.
Of course, that was just survival mode. I couldn’t keep up with it and after five years I finally decided to share my story. First only with my best friend but slowly I started to trust more people with it. I figured that it was a big relieve and it felt like my problem and my pain weren’t even half as big from the moment I started to share my story. If you leave something in the dark, nothing can grow there. Finally, I shined some light on my problems and the solutions were coming my way. It took me a full year of therapy, hospitals, a psychologist and a lot of talking, but I was finally able to have sex. With that, not everything was fixed, but at least I started with a new mindset and that changed the world for me.
How I changed my story into a kick-ass mission
Everyone has his own story and everyone has his own pain. My biggest pain was feeling absolutely worthless and super lonely. That’s why I decided to make it my life goal to show people that you don’t have to feel like this. I want to show others how you can face your story. Be real to yourself and to the people around you. It’s the only way to find happiness in life. I want people to be able to connect with themselves and with others.
The way I do that, is by sharing my stories. Lead by example. I share my stories on my blog Jantiens ReisStijl, I write columns for newspapers and magazines and blog for other companies about personal development. And at the moment I’m working on my second book that will be full of short personal stories of me and my male friend trying to figure out life, dating, relationships and well, ourselves. For me, there is nothing more important than being real. In this world, where everything gets’s an Instagram filter, I think it’s super necessary and refreshing. I don’t mind if the topic is sex, being broke, loneliness or getting my business up and running. I share it and show people that it’s okay that you have no clue about life (who has? If you have, please email me your secret) and if we all keep pretending we have figured it out, we make ourselves and others feel lonely and misunderstood.
Besides sharing my own stories, I also teach people and companies how to share their story. I believe that there is nothing more powerful than sharing your story to make it work for you. During my Masterclasses Creative Writing, I’ve had people crying and sharing their beautiful stories. Some said that they finally knew why they started their business and why they find it so damn important. Writing this is actually giving me goosebumps. Every person who gets more connected to themselves, to their business, to the people around them, is a small victory for me. It motivates me to keep on going.
I really believe that sharing is caring for yourself and for the other and that’s pretty amazing!
I’m really curious about your story? Do you dare to shine some light on it?
Advise after overcoming this challenge:
I would advise everyone who has a problem, challenge or secret, to start talking about it. It solves half of the problem already. After doing that, think about how you could make your challenge a mission. How could you help other people with your own experience? Remember, you are not alone in this.
Tool or technique that helps Jantien on daily basis:
For me, writing is the best way to express myself and start understanding my thoughts and challenges and seeing the possibilities and solutions. Or sometimes I even see that writing my problems down was the solution itself.
A nice technique I’ve learned a few months ago is to start every day with a small brainstorm. Give yourself a challenge and see what solutions are coming up.
For instance, on a day that you don’t feel motivated:
How would I feel if I made one person’s day a bit better today?
How could I make one person’s day a bit better today?
Set the timer to 4 minutes and write down every little thing that you come up with. It shows how easy it can be and motivates you straight away to do it.
What do you think about the story of Jantien? Please leave a comment below and show some love!
Written by: Jantien (29)
Age during challenge: 15-21
When we deny the story, it defines us.
When we own the story, we can write a brand new ending.
Favorite motivational video: