These stories allow individuals to craft a positive identity: they are in control of their lives, they are loved, they are progressing through life and whatever obstacles they have encountered have been redeemed by good outcomes.One of the great contributions of psychology and psychotherapy research is the idea that we can edit, revise and interpret the stories we tell about our lives even as we are constrained by the facts.Like myths, our narrative identity contains heroes and villains that help us or hold us back, major events that determine the plot, challenges overcome and suffering we have endured.
He has discovered interesting patterns in how people living meaningful lives understand and interpret their experiences.
People who are driven to contribute to society and to future generations, he found, are more likely to tell redemptive stories about their lives, or stories that transition from bad to good.
He encourages participants to think about their personal beliefs and values.
Finally, he asks them to reflect on their story’s central theme.
We are all storytellers — all engaged, as the anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson puts it, in an “act of creation” of the “composition of our lives.” Yet unlike most stories we’ve heard, our lives don’t follow a predefined arc.
Our identities and experiences are constantly shifting, and storytelling is how we make sense of it.
There was the man who grew up in dire poverty but told Mc Adams that his hard circumstances brought him and his family closer together.
There was the woman who told him that caring for a close friend as the friend was dying was a harrowing experience, but one that ultimately renewed her commitment to being a nurse, a career she’d abandoned.
The researchers wanted to know which type of story would lead the research subjects to be more generous.
To find out, they monitored the fundraisers’ call records.