The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves

According to a post at Scientific American, people who have experienced loss or trauma may find healing if they are able to turn their life stories into a narrative that hangs together and makes sense. Recent research suggests that developing a story from the events in one’s life — not necessarily a story with a happy ending, just a true and “coherent story,” as opposed to a “fragmented” one — can bring real relief from depression and anxiety. — from The Book Bench @ The New Yorker

This confirms for me something I’ve instinctively puzzled around my entire life. A variation on “Everything happens for a reason,” that glib band-aid, but it’s a variation that’s more insightful and requires one’s thoughtful participation. And what it’s saying is not that we all hunger for “closure,” which doesn’t exist, but that if we can find a narrative, a way of threading together the events of our lives,  kind of like ordering a jumbled collection of short stories into a novel-in-stories, we can come to some sort of understanding, a measure of solace.

The stories we tell ourselves become The Story.

6 responses to “The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves”

  1. “The stories we tell ourselves become The Story.”

    Yes. It’s a way of giving an order to the chaos.

  2. Completely agree, Marie. Thanks for the link.

  3. Every time I put a poetry manuscript together, I figure out something else about my life. Creating narratives does that, I guess!

  4. Yes, yes, & yes! I think it’s something that writers viscerally understand & do constantly.

  5. […] I’m back to stories again; they’re inescapable. The thing is, more than ways of making sense of your life, they can be companions, ones who’ve been there before you. Maybe they can’t show you the path through the dark woods — because there is no one true path, is there — but they can keep you company as you go. It’s an unspeakable help. […]

  6. […] I’ve written previously about the stories we tell ourselves. […]

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