Friday, July 24, 2015

Our stories, and our evolving self

"Our stories help us understand a terrifyingly confusing and dangerous world, most of which is a riddle. For the world to feel safe, we need to make sense of it, especially when we encounter setbacks and misfortunes that shatter our confidence.

Telling anecdotes to friends,  we reveal our true natures, we're not just offering the what and when of our lives.

How was your trip? someone asks. The answer gives more than the whereabouts and the weather. It includes encounters, small triumphs, accidents, embarrassments, revised attitudes. Anecdotes alert our friends and loves ones to our basic values, biases, qualities, and concerns - and also how those vital pieces of identity are changing over time.

The more we learn about ourselves, the more we revise the facts to fit our evolving sense of self. As the vocabulary of life changes, we need our memory to say something fitting, something that makes sense in a newly ordered world.

How we tell the story influences how we feel about ourselves. Change your story and you change your identity."

Page 233, 'A Slender Thread, Rediscovering Hope at the Heart of Crisis', Diane Ackerman

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