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.