On our podcast ‘Tales That Tethr’, tethr Founder & CEO Matt Zerker interviews entrepreneurs, experts, thought leaders, and regular people about what is means to be a man, the challenges that modern men face, and how to overcome challenges and live life in a more connected and authentic way.
Welcome to tales that tethr, a series written by and for the tethr community. If you’d like to share your own story of strength and support, click here. Today we’re honoured to share Rehan’s story.
I had felt as though I was naked and exposed when sharing my story of going through three years of cancer treatment beginning from the age of 13. I expressed the intimate details of pain and isolation all within my podcast, We as Start Talking. Sharing those details about the loneliness of experiencing treatment right into the transition of high school allowed me to cultivate connections to those who had experienced similar things, inspire those who had common goals of surpassing certain limitations, and offer a reality check that we repress a good amount of what we experience not only to other people but to ourselves. We need to hold a space for those feelings and thoughts even when they involve a lot of suffering if we wish to transcend them, as we can’t move over our obstacles until, we know where they are. And although there is a lot of internal resistance towards exposing the most intimate parts of ourselves, we see it happening all the time.
Everywhere we go, we listen to personal stories. These stories are embedded in songs, movies, books, and the conversations we engage in every day. Our own lives are a unique story, and we decide how to live based on our identity, which is the story we tell ourselves.
However, sometimes our story gets ahead of us and moves in a direction we don’t feel we have control over, leaving us with a jumbled mess of emotions to sort out. We’re not always certain of how to feel because we don’t fully understand how the events that have happened to us have shaped us, and how they may shape our future.
If we want to grow into our potential, we must bring these stories up to our conscious focus, not only so we can examine them, but also allowing others to do so to see us in a new light. And not just viewpoints that they can relate and empathize with, but ones that seem so vastly different yet are characterized by the same fundamental limitations which can give us a tried-and-true path to walk through our own.
Nonetheless, every reward comes with a cost. Sharing your story is exposing the part of you that the world doesn’t normally see, in essence, it IS making yourself naked. But given the proper context and space, naked can be beautiful.
Getting through the hurdles of telling my story opened up doors and opportunities I wouldn’t have known existed until I got through the process. Being vulnerable connected me to mentors, podcasts, and a community that have provided a steppingstone for my career. Five years ago, I would never have guessed I would be where I am now. You’ll have opportunities open up to you when you can truly open yourself up to the world so it can see you for who you are and provide you a proper place.
This will require taking the risk of vulnerability, yet without trust within the people and community around you to accept you, it’s a daunting idea to dish out your vulnerable stories. However, since we all share similar stories and all have our own stories to be vulnerable with, there will always be someone who understands, if you trust and reach out far enough. It is through paying forth your vulnerabilities, insecurities, and opening them for observation, that you will achieve connection, compassion, and comradery. Just like we pay acts of kindness to make the world a kinder place, paying our stories will help make the world a more understanding place.
The tethr network allows men, like Rehan, to be given the chance to be heard and listened to by others. Not only are men given the chance to share their stories, but they are given the experience of what it feels like to be supported by a community.