““Everybody agrees that a story begins with some breach in the expected state of things,” writes Jerome Bruner, the pioneer of narrative psychology. “Something goes awry, otherwise there’s nothing to tell about.” The story is the tool to resolve this breach.”Bruce Feiler, Life Is in the Transitions
Resurfaced with readwise.io
I am fascinated by the power of a story. Older posts on this blog have frequent references to stories of my own to help make a point.
I picked this book up last week and started to read as I go through a personal health related transition of my own. It is already getting me thinking about the stories I tell myself as I face my own transition.
Why is this happening to me?
The story I tell myself affects my mind set, and how I approach my own treatment.
I have been lucky, in a perverse sense, to have friends who have been through what I am going through. One consistent piece of advice has been to focus on the positive. To understand that the treatment, while not pleasant is healing my body. That my body can heal itself as well. To welcome the medications into me, even when the side effects leave you feeling awful.
This is the story I am telling myself. I could be telling a different, more negative story, focusing on how unfair this all is. But where would that leave me? How would that help? Life has thrown me a curve ball. I can choose the story I want to tell myself. I choose to focus on the treatment, that it helps, and that I know people who are better now.
My challenge to you is to dwell on this quote. Think about the stories you tell yourself about what is happening around you.
The broader point of this book, bearing in mind I am early in its reading, is that we all face transitions in life.
We do not live life in a linear pattern: birth, school, work, marriage, family, retirement … in those areas we face transitions, for example loss of a job, death of a family member, or serious illness.
Whatever it is for you, pay attention to the story you tell yourself. Then think about the power of creating a different story. Would it help?