Everyone has a story; a story that is usually a poignant, painful experience or adversity or hardship they have gone through, lived through and survived.
At school we had studied The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (by Samuel Taylor Coleridge). It is one of the longest poems ever written and is about an old sailor who randomly stops a man, who is on his way to a wedding party, and insists on telling him his story…the wedding guest tries to get away but the old sailor persists and forces the wedding guest to listen to him, so…
The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
And like the Ancient Mariner, we all want to share our story, although probably not in the manic way he went about it. Yet in a time where technology makes it easy for us to share every miutiae of our life digitally, where we can blog our story or tweet about it, why is there something so captivating and persuasive about sitting down with a person or people and sharing our story, face to face.
Perhaps it is inherent in us - storytelling has been around since the beginning of time.
Perhaps we share our story as a way of communicating who we are. It’s not about relaying facts and figures of an event but rather it’s about revealing the bits of ourselves that we know will leave us vulnerable but we do it anyway. Somehow we intuitively know that the listener(s) we choose to share our story with, will identify with some part of our experiences, that our story or bits of it will resonate with them, that it will connect us.
So, perhaps we tell our story to be understood.
When we share our story we instinctively highlight what is important to us, what the experience(s) meant to us and how it defines who we have become.
And perhaps sharing our story helps us make sense of our world and the life we live. With a receptive listener(s), our story prompts and encourages dialogue and discussion, with possibly new insights and different perspectives for everyone involved.
I deeply admire anyone who courageously shares their story, its not an easy thing to do and I continue to be inspired and humbled by the stories I hear. And like the wedding guest definitely wiser for it.
He went like one that hath been stunned, And is of sense forlorn: A sadder and a wiser man, He rose the morrow morn.