When we tell our stories, we unconsciously also tell our interpretation of other people’s stories.
When we tell somebody about our bad day at work, we end up telling them about our “bad” colleague or boss. When we tell somebody about our family troubles, we end up telling them about our “difficult” relatives or our “broken” home.
Our stories are so intimately connected that we can’t escape talking about other people in our stories. We tell stories the way we hear them. Often the need to tell stories arises from our need to be heard, or to just vent. On a happier level, it arises from our need to be creative, to do something delightful, and to connect with other people.
So, if we should be storytellers, how many stories can we freely use? Do we need to weigh the responsibility of maintaining other people’s dignity in our attempts to fill every available ear? Or, is it the listener who must be wise and not draw conclusions from our stories?
Perhaps it seems insignificant to worry about the conventional art of storytelling that is in our DNA now. So what if we gossip? So what if we judge? So what if we compromise other people’s dignity in our conversations? We’ve all done that some time or the other. It’s part of being human.
But then there’s another part to being human, a part we all wish to have in our stories – Happily Ever After.
We all will eventually get there, but for now we’re in this beautiful, mundane world of beginnings and middles. In this world, threads of our stories will continue to weave around each other. Separate and connected. Through and around.
Maybe we can devote ourselves to slowly unlearning the unconscious way we tell stories so that we restore the other person’s dignity and honour this short-lived connection. For only in this world, we’re connected. In the other, we’re one. Or, so the story goes.