Vicarious Lessons

7 Dec

You don’t have to learn everything the hard way.  How freeing and wonderful is that?  Right now, someone in your life is learning a lesson you’ll need next month–wouldn’t it be a shame to repeat their mistakes?  Of course, they’re not going to tell you what they are going through because we don’t do that.  Why?

If you could save someone the headache, or heartache, that you’ve suffered s the reesult of some decision, would you?  Would you assume that they wouldn’t listen to you anyway?  Or, that you’re an unreliable source?  Would you find shame in them knowing you’ve made such a mistake?

More often than not I hear idioms like, “people are going to do what they want to do,” or “I can’t change a person’s mind,” even, “well they didn’t ask me so it isn’t any of my business.”  And maybe all these are true.  I do not believe, however, that sharing your story violates any of those assumptions.  That person still has the last say in what they will do, you are not speaking to a jury so there is no swaying of opinion, and sharing your truth is not invading their business.

In therapy there is a such thing called self-disclosure.  Its when the therapist shares something he or she has experienced in his or her own life with the client.  It is to be used sparingly and only for the growth of the client.  I have used it maybe three or four times with my twenty something clients (and twenty something sessions) but I’ve found that each time I use it, I reach a new level with my client.  Something happens.  I’m not just a listening ear, but I get it.  I get them.  I get the emotion, the mindset, everything.  I imagine the same can be said of friendship.  Some things that you share with certain friends bond you closer…I would do anything to absorb hurt from those I love.  Including sharing my story, kind of why I started a blog. You really just don’t know who you’re helping when you share your truth.

Have you shared your story?  Have you helped someone else through a hardtime, intentionally or unintentionally?


2 Responses to “Vicarious Lessons”

  1. GG December 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    I try to do this everyday. Every opportunity I get. I used to try to hide things and appear flawless. Then I met a woman who is now a dear friend who was so amazingly candid and open about all of her…skeletons, mistakes, challenges – I mean many would consider it to be TMI. But what I wasn’t put off by her candor, it made me admire and adore her! She was so honest and unapologetic that I was inspired to learn how to be that way myself. Now, I share my story in my own way and I definitely don’t tell all my business like she did 🙂 But I feel free now from not trying to hide and I reap the rewards of others feeling comfortable to be more honest with me in turn. It’s a great feeling. Also helps me to be less judgmental and more forgiving.

  2. Cleo December 19, 2010 at 2:39 am #

    I think this is a hard one .. often when we share our experiences and what we hope to be the lesson, we (me) can sometimes be disappointed if that person doesn’t listen as you’d expected … It’s hard, but it is true that a person will make their own decisions no matter how much you want them to not follow in your footsteps, but I still share …

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