How we Narrate Ourselves

János László brings together a collection of discussions regarding the extent to which narrative is active in our everyday lives in his book ‘The Science of Stories: An Introduction to Narrative Psychology’ [1]. Hardy claims that “we dream in narrative, daydream in narrative, remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, revise, criticize, construct, gossip, learn, hate and love by narrative”[1]. We do not simply create these stories in order to account for what is happening but on a psychological level to “make sense of what we are encountering”[1]. Bruner claims there is no such thing as life itself in the end it is a narrative achievement”. If we agree that people construct themselves through narrative and their “psychological reality are organised through stories” then we can understand a lot from how people are feeling about certain physical events through their story telling [1]. For example using “retrospective narrative” rather than a “re- experiencing perspective” when telling a traumatic life event can indicates how well the story-teller is coping [1]. What is also interesting is what variables influence how we narrate our lives. Looking back at the Independent article that claimed “19 per cent of those who said that the voices of fictional characters stayed with them after they had finished reading, influences the tone of their thoughts and even directly “speaking” to them” [1]. So what we read has, in some people, a direct connection to the tone of our thoughts and how we narrate these.

 

[1] László, J. (2008) The Science of Stories: An Introduction to Narrative Psychology. Routledge

 

 

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