What can we learn when we tell others about our stories?/ importanceWhat can we learn when we tell others about our stories?/ importance

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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One thing we learn when we tell our stories is what kind of person our listener is. This is very important because it helps us discern what kinds of people we want to be associated with. Does the listener listen with understanding? Does the listener interrupt with excuses to leave or to do or to talk about something different? Does the listener prefer to tell their own story rather than to listen to your story?

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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As we share a story with someone else, we often discover something about that story that we didn't realize before.  If you are talking about a personal story, we tend to learn deeper truths about ourselves by sharing.  There's a reason that support groups and therapist spend so much time just talking.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In his novella "The Secret Sharer," Joseph Conrad writes, "Meaning depends upon sharing."  Truly, the communication of one's ideas does lead to meaning for the storyteller. Through the observation of the listeners, the raconteur gains an insight of the significance of ideas in the writing, thus enhancing the ability to reevaluate one's own work.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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As has been the case with storytellers down through the ages, telling our own story is a way of recording it with someone else. We may often share our story with several friends.

I also happen to believe that by telling our story to others, and engaging in discussion—as well as listening to the stories of others—we end up learning a great deal about ourselves, about the commonality we share with others, and about the world in which we live. Knowing we have things in common with others keeps us from feeling isolated, for we learn that we are often not much different than those around us. And recognizing the differences that do exist seems to validate the value of all people, regardless of who they are. As is mentioned in Max Ehrmann's "Desiderata"...

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;

and listen to others,

even the dull and the ignorant;

they too have their story.

Source

http://www.lordtonymackenzie.com/desiderata.html

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catd1115 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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I  have to agree that the most important thing we gain from telling our own story is learning about ourselves. Just as we often have to write out a math problem to see all its parts and how they connect to solve it, writing about your own experiences allows you to see them differently and reflect on yourself in a way you may never have before. Relaying our own stories to others brings out how we ourselves feel about those stories and ourselves. Writing is a catharsis for many, especially when you write about yourself.

As for the response of others, I think how important that is, is different for everyone. None of us should be swayed in our opinons of ourselves based on the opinions of others. However, writing is a different way of presenting yourself and may offer an opportunity to get to know someone else by the way they respond to your writing. Sometimes we can connect with someone over what they have written about themselves, when we might not have made that connection otherwise.

Writing about yourself makes the writer vulnerable because it requires facing feelings and emotions in a new way and of course even more vulnerable once it is shared. By as in anything, without risk there can be no reward.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I agree very much with the idea that we learn about ourselves when we tell stories to others.  

In addition, we learn to pay attention to other people.  As we watch people respond to the stories we tell, we adjust the way we are telling the story.  This is good for us because it sensitizes us to other people and their reactions.  It helps us be better at communicating with others.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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One of the most valuable aspects of the storytelling experience is the self-discovery that comes with writing and telling your story.   Sharing a story comes with personal risk, and the storyteller cannot help but wonder:  what do they think about what I've said, do they like it?  It puts the storyteller in a vulnerable place.  

The best part about sharing a story is finding that sense of community with the audience, feeling that they do connect with what you have said or written.  The storyteller gains insight into his personal experiences from the reflection and telling of the story, and realizes in sharing the story, that others feel and react the same way.

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caglatekeli | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

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You should see often someone talking too much about her/his personal or emotional problem which s/he couldnt solve in her mind yet. By doing that s/he tries to find a solution, an explanation, or simply the feeling of being understood.

as the answer: you can learn if you are done with a problem or whatever in your stories

 

 

 

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