life narratives

Why do we keep telling stories of ourselves and others?

This brief article gives a little of the psychological background of self-storying; have a look at it. I think it’s a good article, but too brief, and does not really talk about the elemental desire to tell stories of the self, not just as a formal therapy with a professional guide, but in our daily lives, in conversations, in writing, in texts, in images, in dreams and in all the myriad ways we express ourselves and communicate.

The full article can be found at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/cd8d3d00-b623-11e1-a14a-00144feabdc0.html

What do you think?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “life narratives

  1. Thank you for sharing this article. It was just what I needed to read right now 🙂 I think that stories, particularly about our lives can be powerful tools for healing. We can recognize our true behaviors and the issues we face, re-frame them according to new information, and move forward in more positive ways. I think, in a lot of cases, we tell the stories we need to tell in the moment, to be understood as we understand ourselves or need ourselves to be understood. And these stories inevitably change as we grow and develop new understandings, just like the unfolding of a fictional narrative (for instance, the new Batman movie–you are not necessarily expecting that twist in the end, but it actually makes more sense than the expected identity of the child lol trying not to use spoilers). I think we tell stories because they provide context and even if we wish we could exist with out context, we cannot. I think we tell stories in order to be understood, to connect, to know that we are not alone, and maybe to gain some sense of security when our interactions with others are less than desirable (ie. if he or she could understand where I am coming from, and I them, maybe we could communicate and interact more effectively and more positively).

    I keep a blog, but I recently found myself needing to tell, and to share, a story I could not share on my blog or with my name attached. I did so on an anonymous site amongst people who have had similar experiences. Whether someone reads it or not, it was incredibly therapeutic and it has helped me move forward and prepare for new stages in my life. I think telling stories is what makes us human, and it is an important tool for building connections and for understanding ourselves in relation to the world. It can also help us to develop empathy for other people.

    • Dear Stephanie

      I’m so glad you found meaning in the article, and thank you for your deeply felt and thought responses to how story telling heals us. I haven’t seen the Batman movie, and probably won’t, but I take your point: twists happen, events we don’t expect challenge us to reshape ourselves. If we are young and vulnerable, it’s likely we are shaped in ways that become restricting as we grow older. but as we mature and learn from life, we have more choice in the way we respond, and also, by telling stories of our former selves, we can, as you say, understand ourselves and others better, and connect with others now in the present. I think your experience of blogging anonymously is powerful, and it confirms what I believe, that to talk to others who understand is the best therapy we can have, and helps us connect with others who have had similar experiences, so we do not feel alone. Thanks for sharing.

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