Words of Wisdom
Blog by Christine Upchurch
[Originally published 5/17/2018]
My TEDx talk will focus on something I have discovered that is rather counterintuitive: that feeling like an outsider at some point in our lives can ultimately be beneficial. I’m not talking about it being beneficial in a general “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” sort of way. But actual, identifiable gifts which we can gain from the experience, if we choose to accept them.
My understanding of this has come partly from my professional experience with clients and workshop attendees over the years. My understanding has also expanded through a rational evaluation of what I have come to learn from others. However, my deep knowingness about this truth has emerged out of my own personalexperience. Which means that to do this topic justice within the structure of a TEDx talk, I need to get very personal—not only with the live audience, but with some nebulous, unknown future YouTube audience which will someday watch the video of my talk.
Feeling vulnerable about sharing certain aspects of my personal story, I have repeatedly questioned the wisdom of doing so. I have asked myself several important questions: Am I ready to discuss this so publicly? Have I healed enough to so that my motivation for sharing is not in the hope of getting something I need from the audience, but rather for the purpose of giving something of value tothe audience? Is my story an essential piece of a more complete puzzle?
The response to each question has been “yes.” It’s time. I am ready. It’s pertinent to the lesson I am sharing within my TEDx talk. By offering my own story, I am also inviting others to connect with their own vulnerable experiences which have led them to feeling like an outsider. It is in that place of vulnerability—combined with the wisdom of new perspective—where there is great potential for meaningful transformation. If I can offer that to even a single viewer, then the risk which comes from sharing in this way will have served an important purpose.
Like you, I am on a journey--a path filled with joy and sorrow, expansion and contraction--with beautiful lessons and fascinating insights each step of the way. Thank you for joining me for a small part of my journey. I look forward to connecting with you on yours.