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  • Writer's pictureMary Dove, LCSW

You are your own life's Storyteller.

Updated: Aug 21, 2018

We live in and through our stories.” Dan P. McAdams

“Life stories guide behavior and decision making, and they speak to how people create meaning in their lives” writes Dan P. McAdams, PhD, a Northwestern University psychology professor and leading researcher on narrative identity. Tim Wilson, a professor of psychology at University of Virginia, has produced research on “story editing” showing that it can lower the teenage pregnancy rate and reduce teen violence. Sadie F. Dingfelder writes” We don’t just tell stories, stories tell us. They shape our thoughts and memories, and even change how we live our lives.”

The stories we tell ourselves construct our identities, shape our memories and create our reality. Once we tell our story, it is hard to get outside the framework of that story and they can get more dramatic over time. We have the ability to change our perception, and change how we tell our stories. We can become the heroes of our own lives. In my work with clients, we explore the nature of their stories and the narrative they live in, and begin to expand and explore with curiosity.

We don't just tell stories, stories tell us. They shape our thoughts and memories and even change how we live our lives. - Sadie F. Dingfelder

I find it exciting that the research shows that telling stories of struggle and turmoil can help people grow wiser and encourage them to be more productive. In a study of college freshman, that were not doing well academically, they were asked to read information suggesting that many college students struggle the first year but improve over time. They were also shown video interviews of juniors and seniors who reinforced that they grades improved. The students that received this information compared to the control group without this prompt, were less likely to drop out of school.

In families, where parents encourage reminiscing and storytelling about daily events in their children lives. As pre-teens, those children show better coping, less depression and stronger problem solving skills.

You have the power in yourself to write your own story, to become the heroine, and not a sidekick or a peripheral character, in your own narrative and, that in the process of crafting your story, you will discover your inner strength and courage to become the best possible you.

You are your own life's Storyteller. Craft something beautiful for yourself, weave a tale with fun and surprises, make room for sunsets and miracles, and always include pages and pages of love. Scott Stabile


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