How Stories Shape Who We Are

Are you interested in how stories shape who we are? Read on to find out the Weaver’s thoughts on this topic.

Stories shape who we are. The Weaver of Stories

Facts versus Stories

Life events, like the weather, are random. People do not get sick and the bank does not call with bad news simply because overcoming great odds makes for a great story.

And yet, even though our lives do not follow the structure of stories, we naturally interpret them as such. We seek coherence and meaning and for this reason, we attach stories to facts or sequences of otherwise unrelated events.

Stories are the means by which we assign and convey meaning

Witnessing something deeply moving, like a doctor saving a life, does not mean there is an omniscient narrator out there arranging that event just so it becomes the reason why a young girl goes on to medical school and becomes a doctor herself.

And yet, that girl might decide to make that event into a starting point for the story that informs and directs her path in life. Alternatively, she might decide that she never wants to see something so shocking again, and choose a completely different profession.

Neither of these options is wrong. In fact, they aren’t even the only options. With enough creativity, you can find many more different interpretations and possible paths for this example.

The point is that what drives us to make decisions are not facts. Facts, taken by themselves, lack intent and purpose. The stories that we craft, the interpretations we construct around facts or series of events, they drive our choices.

Why do stories shape who we are?

We can’t help it, we naturally construct and attach stories to things, events, and people.

Society itself is a network of intertwining stories, and it has been so since before we invented writing. It feeds us a constant stream of stories, and some of them are about ourselves.

Some stories we believe, others we challenge. The ones that we believe go on to become part of our personal story.

However, when faced with the question “Who are you?” most of us respond with a list of facts. Name, age, marital or professional status, and other relevant details depending on circumstances.

Not everyone immediately thinks about a story. However, we all have some form of a personal story that informs our choices in life. Even if we’re not aware of them, stories shape who we are.

Become aware of your personal story

Life stories, or personal stories, are the interpretation and meaning we attribute to our existence. We seek purpose, and we chase our dreams. This website, for instance, is a manifestation of such an attempt.

Being disconnected from or not knowing our personal narratives can lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction with life.

Without purpose, we might live on autopilot and witness life as it happens to us. Or we might go on an endless search for purpose, jumping from one project to the next, never finding meaning in our activities.

For this reason, awareness is very important. We cannot chase dreams we aren’t aware of. And we need a story to identify and give meaning to those dreams.

The transformative power of a coherent personal story

Personal stories, if adopted intentionally, can give direction and coherence to one’s life. If you know your story, it’s easy to chart a direction and next steps in your life.

We are so attuned to how stories work, it’s very easy to decide on what comes next if we think of our lives as stories. When we are aware of our personal stories, this allows us to find meaning and satisfaction in life. We know exactly what to look for and do.

Navigating the crossroads in life, like choosing a college or a career, becomes easier. Following our purpose is logical and comes natural if we think about it in terms of an overarching narrative.

Will any story do?

Personal stories can’t and shouldn’t be picked arbitrarily. They should be chosen with care from all the stories our past experiences might inspire.

In order to serve us well, they should be refined into something that conveys a meaning we care deeply for.

Just because a certain career path is fashionable or well paid at the moment, we can’t incorporate it into our story and expect it to fit right in.

It has to resonate with us.

How do we identify our life story and our purpose?

There are many ways to discover one’s life story, but in the Weaver’s coaching practice, the process of identifying your personal narrative starts with a life audit.

This first step in taking control of your narrative is essential. Becoming aware of your current narrative is the only way to change it.

Next, you need to become aware of any inconsistencies or fallacies in your current narrative. This awareness will then allow you to challenge them.

Once you have worked through these, you will discover that your narrative has changed.

This will be evident in the little every day thoughts, not just in your personal story. For example, “I’m just not good at [sports]” might become “I am having fun learning how to [dance]”.

Lastly, you want to record your newly discovered personal story so you can revisit it and add to it or change it as you grow.

Stories shape who we are. Choose wisely

You can choose your own story, as long as it is coherent with any other narratives you embrace. It is possible to consciously pick the way you want to represent your life and convey it through a unique story that can evolve together with you.

Think about it: what would your life be like if you acknowledged that you’re the hero of your own life story? If you owned that truth?

Being clear about who you are and what you want to do in life is nothing short of magical. You know what you are doing and why, because the bigger picture is clear. You may stop doing some things and start focusing on others. But first you need that clarity.

Are you ready to choose your own path?

Subscribe to the The Weaver’s Quests to Reconnect with Yourself, a newsletter for those who are ready to take action and transform their lives.

You’ll get the Weaver’s weekly quests delivered to you via email, as well as a three-part story about the Weaver exclusive to subscribers.

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