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Story Matters

The stories we tell about ourselves matter. The stories about where we come from, what we are doing now, and where we are going…it all matters. The story of where you came from can even point you in the direction of where you’re going next.

Psychology believes that folks with a ‘coherent life narrative’ are more capable of overcoming painful life events and living a healthy, whole life. In fact, the ‘coherent life narrative’ is a predictor of the health of present and future relationships.
John Gottman, famed marriage researcher, uses a tool to predict with roughly 90% accuracy whether or not a couple will remain married. Can you guess what it is?
Yep, it’s a story. It’s the story of how they met. But what’s most fascinating is that it’s not the content of the story but how they tell the story, and that couples that learn to change the way they tell the story can actually improve the relationship.
So, what’s your story? Are you the weary traveler beaten down by life or the constant disappointment to yourself and others? Or are you the underdog, the changed protagonist, the brave hero?
Whoever you are and wherever you’re going look to your story. Either way, it’s your kryptonite or your superpower.
But here’s the good news. R E V I S I O N. To see again. Take another look. Re-imagine your story and reimagine your life. Put words to the story and override the old narrative or crystallize the one you want.
“Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.” –Desmond Tutu

I Live Here

No Pictures

An Early Literacy Memory

This is a picture of my first day of school at Midway Elementary on the outskirts of Cumming, Georgia. Just the year before, I’d watched my sister take the same school bus, her absence inaugurating the longest year of my short life. On the days she spent at school, I counted the seconds until she returned home. In this picture, Mrs Ridings, our bus driver is smiling, but I can’t say I remember much joy coming from our cranky, yet devoted, chauffeur. But what did I care? I was going to school! The mysterious place my sister disappeared to without me, the place where they instructed you in the mystical arts of reading and writing and how to make friends.

It was actually my sister’s first day of school, not mine, that gave me my first literacy memory. Bell hopped off the bus, ran into the house, and grabbed my little hand. She pulled me toward a clear spot on the floor, gave me a pencil and paper, and instructed me to sit down. And then carefully, she placed her hand over mine and helped me write the letters V I C T O R I A. “Victoria,” she sounded out slowly and with dramatic effect, “That’s your name.”