Stories are written in so many ways- lengthy prose, poetry, short stories, scripts, essays. They’re divided and subdivided into parts, chapters, sequences, paragraphs, lines, sentences. And they all have characters with strengths and flaws who set out to overcome something worth reading or watching (much of the time, anyway). A good story is compelling through dialogue, description, and/or plot. The stories of our lives are made up in similar ways- they’re divided into stages of life, milestones, and significant events. Just like the characters we encounter, the people in our lives, including ourselves, have strengths and weaknesses. We too experience struggles and challenges. How these stories are drawn up however, is a whole other set of components that’s a bit more complicated then let’s say, the elementary paragraph sandwich.
Topic (“the top bun”): YOU– It’s your story, so let’s start with you as the main character; the protagonist. In this introduction, you’re summing up who you are in a phrase or two. “I am _____.”
Supporting Details (“the yummy condiments”): Experience and Origins– Next up are the supporting details. We pull this evidence from experiences we have with our families, our past, our society and/or communities. “I am ____ because of _____.”
Conclusion (“the bottom bun”): Your Analysis– We then circle back to our original argument about ourselves because the evidence says so. So, we draw the conclusion that it must be true and we live into this idea.
The problem with this model is that it is inductive reasoning. We make a generalization about ourselves, find evidence to support that claim, and then prove ourselves right. It becomes a theme throughout our lives- tagging along with us in every interaction we have.
Instead of gathering evidence based on facts (deductive reasoning), we get a little too creative in reading into situations- “They must have done that because I’m not enough.” We’re quick in allowing the story we have about ourselves to take the stage and make meaning of an experience. Instead of letting the experience speak for itself or getting a factual explanation, our story drowns everything else out.
We’re in pursuit this month to break down the stories we have about ourselves, understand them further, and ultimately help to write a new one that represents our authentic selves. This week, think about your top 3 favorite stories (from movies, tv, books, etc.) and retell it to yourself with you as the main character.
Catherine at Revive