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The Power of Testimony
The Power of Testimony
Sharing your testimony helps you heal and bring us closer together. The Latin root for testimony is testis, meaning “ witness.” Compassionate witnessing of our personal series helps us recover and help others do the same. There is power in your testimony.
WHY SHARING YOUR TESTIMONY IS IMPORTANT
Humans thrive off connection. It is something that needs to survive and thrive in our lives. Trauma and adversity produce a high level of shame and create psychological and emotional barriers that prevent us from being able to connect with other people. Addiction causes a great deal of shame and isolates us from others. Shame at its essence is the feeling of being different from others and not good enough. To alleviate shame we must allow ourselves to open up and share the things we feel shameful about. The antidote to shame is connection and connection is created through vulnerability. The courage to share our testimony, our story, with others despite the fear of judgment or criticism. When we share our truth with others and they respond with empathy, compassion, and/or relate this alleviates shame on a massive level.
Not only does sharing our testimony help us heal, but our story can be the catalyst for healing in other’s lives. The Emotional identification that happens when you hear another person tell a similar story of suffering helps you know you’re not alone. It gives you hope that you too can heal and be brave enough to tell your truth one day. When we hear stories that are like ours we know we are not alone. We no longer feel different and apart from others. We begin to see that we are whole and worthy of belonging.
THE HEALING POWER OF YOUR TESTIMONY
Sharing your “experience, strength and hope” is how testimony is described in 12 step fellowships. This practice has been done since recovery meetings first started in 1939. They innately knew the power of one alcoholic sharing their experience and recovery with another alcoholic. This was a key component to the formation of the 12 step support groups that have helped millions recover from addiction. This practice is so effective that they even added personal stories of recovery and spiritual growth to the Big Book and hundreds of other pieces of recovery literature have done the same.
Sharing testimony in the church has been a practice for centuries. We see this happen at multiple levels, Even a confession is a form of testimony. It’s telling on the parts of ourselves that we feel most guilty and shameful about. It’s in knowing that another human has witnessed our suffering and our transgressions yet has chosen to accept, love and forgive us any way that heals our emotional wounds. Faith plays a large role in the courage to share your testimony because if you believe that God is loving, merciful, forgiving and the orchestrator of your life you find meaning in your struggles. This type of faith cultivates courage, resilience, and a conviction to share what God has done in your life with others.
The power of testimony is real! The courage it takes to share your whole truth with your whole heart builds resilience and fosters connection with others. We need connection in order to recover and build healthy supportive relationships. These relationships help us stay sober. Letting go of the shame of our past helps propel us into a life filled with meaning and connection. Feelings of Isolation and loneliness disappear. We begin to love ourselves. This discovery helps us to forgive ourselves and others. All of a sudden, we can see how God is working in our lives and we find purpose in our pain.