r By Rachel Hartshorn
As human beings, we are programmed to tell stories. In fact, there’s a literary theory that says telling stories is the closest we can get to understanding the true human experience. When you share dry historical facts by themselves, you get one aspect of truth. Facts are facts.
When you portray an event in bullet points, however, you are missing another piece of truth, which is the narrative aspect of that event. No event ever occurred in bullet points. Every event was a story that can be told hundreds of ways. Each one of those stories contains pieces of the truth.
Memory works in a similar way. The idea of the importance of memories was brought home for me recently, with the death of my Grandfather. Memories, or stories, are now all I have left of him. I have memories of him that I can share, the stories he told me, and the stories other people tell me about him.
Within each of those stories told, he played many roles in his life. Depending on whose perspective the story was told from, he could have been a hero, villain, or even a barely noticed figure at the edge of a someone else’s experience. With one event, he could have played all those roles for different people.
Over time as we look back over our own memories, we can believe ourselves to play all those same roles as well, depending on which perspective we chose to view our story from and which pieces from the experience we chose to remember. As we remember and tell ourselves our own stories, those stories can shape how we view ourselves today.rStories are powerful.
As has been stated, there are hundreds of things to remember about a single event and there are hundreds and thousands of events to remember about a single life. One person is not just one event or experience.
Each person gets to choose who they believe they are and what pieces of their story means something to them. You own your story and you get to chose what it means for you. That’s the most beautiful piece about this human experience. You can choose to change how you view yourself and how you view the past.
Turning to My Story Matter’s vision statement, “My Story Matters promotes healing, inspires hope, and celebrates courage in everyday heroes by engaging them in a process that helps them reflect, recount, record, and reframe their stories,” every day can be an opportunity to “reflect, recount, record, and reframe” your own story. Choose today to tell yourself the version of your story that will help you heal, that will help you see hope, that will help you see your heroic potential.
The narrative you tell yourself matters. Your story belongs to you. Your story matters.rWhat stories will you create and share in 2019?