I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the power of storytelling, of stories in general.
I’m not sure there’s a more powerful tool available to mankind than the stories we tell. And we tell them all the fuckin’ time.
Don’t think so?
Whatever. You’re telling one right now, if you don’t believe me, especially if you don’t. You’re telling yourself a story that people don’t tell stories, that storytelling isn’t that important, and that I’m full of shit. That’s a fuckin’ story. Not exactly Huckle-fuckin-berry Finn, but a story nonetheless.
You don’t have to be Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, or Stephen King to tell stories, and they would agree with me, 100%. Everyone tells them.
Most of the time, we tell them about ourselves, TO ourselves.
And most of the time, they are the nastiest, dirtiest, evilest, vilest of stories we ever tell. Stories like,
“You fuckin’ dumbass, how could you possibly forget to take out the garbage, or drop your keys, or burn the eggs, or stub your fuckin’ toe on the coffee table! You’re suck a fuckin’ idiot! You never do anything right! I’m such a failure.”
Notice what happened there?
We turned a handful of accidents that anyone and everyone does, into an internalized story about being a Failure, a noun. We didn’t just fail at something, hell no; we became a Failure. We went from verb to noun, just because we scorched the morning omelet.
What a load of happy horse shit that is!
I’m not gonna go into this too much farther today, since I don’t have time, and I have a longer piece coming in a couple of days, but I wanted to get you thinking about the internal storytelling that you do every day.
Is it positive?
I hope so, but I doubt it. If you’re anything like me, and most people, it’s a really negative story, and it’s kicking your ass in ways that you don’t even realize.
The first step to rewriting that story, which is where we’re headed eventually, is to read the story you’re currently writing, that is, to pay attention to it when you do it.
Next time you start bashing yourself verbally, either out loud or in your head, stop for a second, breathe, and then mentally step back for just a second and say,
“Wow. That was a really fuckin’ negative story I just told about myself.”
That’s it. You’re done, for now. The more often you can do that, the better off you’ll be, because after awhile you’ll be able to catch yourself as it starts, and then stop it. But for now, just draw your attention to your negative storytelling. It’s an enlightening little exercise.
Read & Listen to the next part, Human Nature & Old Pianos: Power of Storytelling, pt 2