I want to become a better storyteller. Not just to tell people my own story, but tell other people’s stories. Other people’s stories are just as important as my own story. Stories are places in which people can find common ground though shared experiences. In a culture full of monologues and debates we need to find common ground so that we can open up meaningful dialog. Quickly we are losing our ability to communicate meaningful because we are not listening and seeking hear other people’s stories.
For me, this means I must start taking what I have heard and letting is seek in, let move me. The stories I hear ought not be filed away just to be used as an object lesson but internalized so they may be empathized with. Stories of others is a look into their being, an invitation to understand who they are and why they are that way.
But I must first be aware of my own stories. If fail to understand how my stories shape who I am and I fail to understand how the stories I share with others shape how they see, perceive, and engage me; how can I begin to hope that I can so that with other stories? So before I can become a teller of others stories, I must be able to tell my own story and understand how my experiences shapes my frame of the world.
Only then I can learn others stories. I compare their stories to my own, seeking to understand through my own experiences. This is done by mulling their stories over in my head, seeking to capture the essence of story. Then, when I think I have come to a place of understand, and only then can I present that story to others. People have to desires: to know and to be known. Sharing stories is a way to acknowledge these desires, but I believe it ought to be done with the utmost respect.
I think it is my responsibility to be aware of the stories of those around me; when people feel prompted to share, that I would listen. Not to just to be courteous and not ready to interject my opinion or solution, but to actually seek to understand who they are and care for them were they are.
This is post is not in line with my normal posting, I know. I know the theory behind what I wrote about above, but practice is so much harder- it take patience and selflessness. The focus here is the listening aspect and I have found myself in conversations listening to just enough to find the gist so that I can respond quickly.