In personal experience (PE), the story itself becomes the vehicle to relate the message to readers. We are the main character or at least the one who changes. The best PE articles invite readers to identify with our experience and apply the message to themselves.
If we’re going to write PE, everything pivots around our vulnerability. Editors don't want stories of our great triumphs or success. Readers identify with failure and find hope in rising above mistakes.
PE isn't where we confess our sins, but we show that even the most thickheaded individuals (ourselves) can gain insight.
After the insight, we don’t become perfect; we remain human. Years ago, I wrote a PE piece about dealing with my temper. I concluded, "I still struggle with losing my temper, but I’m growing and my volcanic eruptions occur less often."
That's realistic and that's what we want readers to grasp: Not perfection but ongoing victory over struggles.
When I'm transparent about my shortcomings, readers identify with me.