Updated: Dec 2, 2019
Someone shared your story without consent (and without details). Now what? You can either let the negative feelings consume you...or you can reclaim your narrative like the empowered being that you are!
Within the social service field, it happens endlessly. I mean, that is what the work calls us to do--share the stories of others, in the name of conferencing and helping to create a plan for the individual and/or family. Yet, I wonder how many of us stop to think a value we often forget-the "Dignity and Worth of a Person." A client discloses something more personal than what has been briefed on, or what is documented on the intake forms. Whether it is a great news or a traumatic event, most of us feel we have officially been given consent to share this--be it with our colleagues, our friends/families; or worse yet, to a crowd in the spirit of excitement. I am not referring to the guidelines of someone disclosing information that they would hurt someone or themselves. I am rather speaking of that coworker who told you about their weekend, the turmoil within their relationship(s), or the promotion or great blessings happening in their life. In our self-centeredness, we share it with the next person, telling ourselves we equally feel the narrator's emotions about the story. Yet, such is simply misguided thoughts that further perpetuate an egocentric mindset. I am not here to shame or blame--after all, I am guilty of this myself on more than one occasions. However, I justify the times that I have done such by believing that I filtered the information or at the very least, filtered the person(s) I shared with. While I often strive to give a lot of thoughts to what I share about others and who I share it with, I couldn't help but reflect further and check the log in my own eyes.
See, most recently, this happened to me where without consent, without discussions, without even knowing details, the story of a very critical moment in my adult life was shared with worse than strangers--acquaintances. Upon going through the immediate array of emotions, I reached the conclusion that allowing someone or an event that makes you feel victimized, disrespected, and un-empowered is not worth the emotional space that it takes. As the true controller that I can be, I held the reins and stepped out event further from my comfort zone. I published the story myself--to even better than strangers--the media. Was I a nervous wreck for some time? Absolutely. This was not without prayer, reflection, processing time. And yes, I did what Christians are called to do-forgive. But better I felt that I had reclaimed my narrative, at my own pace, my own time, under my own conditions. Does this give someone else-anyone else-permission to share or even ask me? Hey, we all have choices. And choice is mine as well, and I choose my story, and my time!