In our on-the-go society, meaningful relationships are hard to come by. Shallow relationships with our friends and “support” group tend to be the norm. One entrepreneur is out to change that. This week, we introduce you to Crystal Gornto, creator of HeartStories.
4word: Why did you create the HeartStories app?
Crystal: Women today live constantly on the go. We are hyper-connected through social media, yet often still feel isolated and alone with the noise in our minds. We present this beautiful, collected appearance to the outside world, while secretly comparing our real lives to the polished news feeds of others. We are battling shame, fear and doubt that can prevent us from being the women we are meant to be.
I created HeartStories to support women in this situation: by creating a community to remind us that we are not alone and by providing tools to actively replace the noise in our minds.
4word: How does HeartStories create this community?
Crystal: We are pioneering a new way of using technology FOR us to help women to re-train their brains. This app is a place to be heard, focus on the positive and replace the negative noise in their minds.
When it comes to friend counts, less is more. We are limiting the available “friend” spaces to 10 in an effort to foster deep, meaningful relationships.
4word: How can HeartStories get on the radar of those who are suffering the most? Aren't the most wounded also the most likely to avoid resources that require them to face unpleasant issues?
Crystal: Yes, often those who need support the most are the least likely to ask for it. That's a big reason for the shift in the platform for HeartStories. We concluded that ALL of us need support and the only way we are really going to find it is in the context of loving relationships.
Trauma and loss affect us negatively if we keep them inside and social media doesn’t always help. We see the picture perfect posts of those around us and silently compare ourselves - our worries, doubts, and fears - with what others are constantly sharing. It doesn't help that the church has not historically fostered authenticity. We've been expected to wear our nicest clothes and our prettiest smile just to walk in the door.
Things begin to spiral when we start rehearsing stories in our minds that tell us we can't show our true selves to the outside world because we simply aren't good enough. By focusing on truth and supporting each other, we are reminded of God’s great love for us and the value that He places on our lives.
4word: What personal story can you share about your own life that gives you insight to the issues women bring to HeartStories.com?
Crystal: All of our stories are different, but I think a common theme is the need to be supported and loved in the everyday grind of our lives. Early in my marriage to Scott, we lost a young family member/friend as the result of a tragic accident. The fall out of that has been somewhat of a backdrop for our relationship in so many ways.
I have wonderful, close friends who would be there for me in a split second, but I don't always want to reach out in the dark times, especially when I haven't been very present in the good times.
But, if I was connected to them on a deeper level every single day, by this app in my pocket, it would be easier for us to support each other in the daily grind of our lives. More consistent connection to the women who love me most would have taken the pressure off of my relationship with my husband in my hardest moments. It would have enabled me to show up stronger and less needy as a wife and a friend.
4word: How can 4word readers share HS with women they know? What criteria do you seek in mentors?
Crystal: We are in a crowd funding campaign to raise support to build the web app and the mobile app versions of HeartStories. The best way to support us right now is to join us in that campaign at:
And to spread the word!
What are some soundtracks that constantly play in your mind? How would the fostering of loving and honest relationships, especially with other women, change that soundtrack?