The Stories We Tell

Posted: 10 years ago | By: Christine Somers | In: Life Management | Read Time: 2 minutes, 16 seconds

{What story would you tell?}

I love a good story. One of the reasons I am engaged to Marty is that he is a good, no, a great story teller. He tells the most fantastical and amusing stories about the people in his life. During his storytelling sessions he will   humorously describes in detail his grandfather's "square head". Or he will weave a word picture about setting up the main tent in the rain during his days working for the circus. Many of his embellished stories are now legends in our family even to the point where my grandchildren believe that Marty's grandfather had to have special hats made to fit his square head. Marty makes us laugh and he makes his family and life before we met him "real" though his stories.

Americans love a good story. Our national stories are told and retold about the lives of Americans like George Washington, Steve Jobs or Ernest Hemingway and those stories are now woven into our national consciousness. The national stories celebrate Washington's morality, Jobs' genius and Hemingway's understated writing style and as Americans we are proud and strive to follow in their footsteps. But today, a darker and more sinister story is being told about our nation, about us. Government representative, business leaders, educators, scientist, writers and even our religious leaders are described as corrupt, criminal, morally bankrupted and even stupid. Our vocabulary has become one of hate and accusation when there is a difference of opinion.

Even when describing ourselves we use negative personality adjectives. If we have a clean and organized home, then we are described as OCD. If a woman is direct and assertive at work, then she is bossy and aggressive. If someone disagrees with us on a political issue, they are stupid or weak-minded. Sadly, we are embracing the labels placed on others and ourselves from the hypercritical elements in the media; people who love exploring sarcasm, failure and mordant humor.  We are forgetting that we are human. Humans may stumble and fall during a lifetime but ultimately human beings are good and we should celebrate that goodness.

My mother used to say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". I have worked all my life to do this, though not always successfully. I encourage you to look at your vocabulary and the stories you are telling. Do they heal or hurt? How do you describe yourself? How do you describe others? What story are you telling about yourself, your family, your community or your nation? Take the next few days and discover if you are one who uplifts your world and the world around you through the stories you tell.