We all tell ourselves stories that define our identities, that unite the like-minded, and that help us cope with the trials of life. They guide us through the day to day and help us make important decisions. They inform our relationships and our politics. It doesn’t even matter if they’re true or not: the power of fiction (literature, cinema, video games) to be more than mere entertainment proves my point. Stories and storytelling are probably the most important aspects of our psychology because they shape how we view ourselves and the world.
Marketers love this because our personal stories can be accessorized: if you believe in self-reliance, you need a gun and maybe a pickup truck. If you fancy yourself open-mided and hip, you’ll need some horn rimmed glasses and a fixed-gear bike. If you believe in the Nativity, well, shouldn’t you be at the mall right now?
Some of the stories we tell ourselves are passed down through family and culture. Some are completely original. No matter what story you tell yourself, consider this: does it involve upholding your idealism over the happiness or wellbeing of others? If so, it may be time to reconsider.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, many people are doing just that.
You may be “stuck” in a story you don’t truly believe in, or one that you realize is wrong. Remember that how we choose to live out our stories is up to us. It’s never to late to change stories, or, better yet, to write a new one.