This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It)

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“Seeing oneself as acting in a movie or a play is not merely fantasy or indulgence; it is fundamental to how people work out who it is they are, and may become”, says Benedict Carey in the recent NY Times article This is Your Life (and How You Tell It).


In support of his view, author Carey quotes Dr. Dan P. McAdams, a professor of Psychology at Northwestern, and author of the book, The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By. Says McAdams: “

[Our personal] narratives guide behavior in every moment, and frame not only how we see the past but how we see ourselves in the future.”

What are the personal narratives that frame OUR pasts, and possibly predict our futures?

Said another way, what are the 1-2 stories that we most often tell about our lives? And how do the stories that we tell ourselves in isolation (by ourselves) differ from the stories that we tell our peers (family/friends) and our charges (children or mentees)?

For example, stories that I tell my charges tend to be well-crafted, and confident. Stories that I share with my peers are less polished recounting of personal experiences, happy and sad. Then there are the stories I tell myself: remember the Oprah Miraval contest

So here's the question for you: are you happy with the stories that you tell yourself, your peers, your children?

If you were to craft a narrative, using the below quote as your theme, what story would you tell, whether written, painted, scrapbooked, danced, photographed or sung?

God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. – Frederick Buechner

P.S. The above painting is courtesy of the NY Times and artist Otto Steininger.

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