Every story that you’ve ever loved, whether it be true or false, is exaggerated. Some religious folks may even call it lying. It’s a really good thing all these stories we hear throughout our lives are exaggerated though; it is in this exaggeration that we can discover the truth inside the story’s characters even if the facts don’t seem to line up with their reality.

stories are in my dna

I have spent most of my life helping people share who they really are. I believe that when we lead others by sharing our experiences, we make a better world. It is through stories, opinions, thoughts, and ideas that we are able to stand on each others shoulders to reach new heights. So when I eventually recognized that most stories are exaggerated, it completely blew my mind. I had spent most of my life being concerned with true facts, and the idea that the stories we hear about our favorite heroes may not be as true as they seem was a depressing concept.

There is a bit of a stigma associated with exaggeration, so it’s only natural for me to be disappointed at the notion that my favorite true stories were not factual. When someone exaggerates a story they’re telling,  we have a way of disbelieving the entire thing. Although that’s our nature, it actually does a huge disservice to the person telling the story and ourselves as well.

Let me tell you why.

the experience tells a story that plain true facts just can’t

Have you ever seen interviews, or read eye witness testimonies, of a tragic event? From 9-11 to Ariana Grande, horrible attrocity brings fear, panic, and every other adrenaline pumping feeling out of people. Their stories are broken and incomplete, told with trembling in their voice and tears in their eyes. They say things like, “ten airplanes crashed into the towers” or “25 people were firing weapons and setting off bombs.” As a matter of fact, the victims of the tragedies (even the receipt of positive yet startling surprises) doesn’t usually get many of the facts right at all. Yet, they were there in person.

This is why exaggeration is so important to storytelling. The facts may tell us what happened in a story, but the exaggerated story tells us how the person actually felt. It doesn’t matter if there was one bomber during a terorist attack or ten; if the person felt like there were ten, that’s the story that matters. That’s the amount of fear, anxiety, and adrenaline they felt. That’s the feeling that will haunt their memories for a lifetime. The truth belongs on Wikipedia, while our experiences belong in our personal stories.

This isn’t to say that lying is a good mode of sharing your story with the world, because it isn’t. If you know the facts, tell the facts. However, don’t rob someone else of their personal experiences just because you’re more interested in what happened than how that person felt.

this is one of the biggest reasons people are scared to tell their story

Ultimately, people are often scared to write posts at Society Rebel, or share anywhere else for that matter, because they don’t think they can get the story right. They are scared that they will say something incorrect, which will lead to people picking them apart for what they said. I’m here to tell you that’s not a good reason to hide what you have to say from everyone else.

I often write about events in my childhood, or reference moments in time that I could only have a blurry memory of at best. The point is, those moments and memories make me feel something. I’m not here to chronicle those moments, I’m here to share what they mean to me. I won’t always get the details right. I try my best to get them correct, but I make mistakes. I don’t let that scare me from telling the world what’s on my mind, and sharing my ideas to help them build a better life. I just do my best.

So don’t be worried about getting your facts perfect all the time. Don’t be ashamed to tell someone how the experience felt even if you’re not sure the scene is set perfectly. Don’t hide your story from the world because you’re trying to impress everyone. Most importantly, have a little compassion, and understand that people need to exaggerate; this is the only way we can get a glimpse of their heart and soul despite the details.

Published in featured, life lessons

2 Comments
  1. Stacia Stall 2 years ago

    @tkdennis, I have long called this “storytellers liberty” If you’re telling this story, you get to tell it how you like it.
    Granted this is probably why history is often one sided, because the winning side tells the story their way. However, I think it’s probably important for people to recognize that this is true and come to terms with it. People share stories for feelings not facts!

  2. Jen 2 years ago

    Beautiful.

    A Blank canvas- you are the artist of your journey.

    Be authentically you, in this cluttered world.

    Sat Nam <3

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