Everything (I know, huge generalization!) we say, do and think is a result of our story. The more I live, observe, read, and think, the more I believe that this is something we can benefit from thinking about. That sullen little girl in the corner, she has a story. That loud, opinionated colleague, she has a story. That nervous boy who asks a million questions before he does anything, he has a story. That waitress with the ‘whatever’ attitude, she has a story. To ponder their stories is to get at, and possibly understand, their behavior.
Our stories are multi-layered. We have the story of our growing up. The story of our childhood challenges. The story of our school experiences. The story of where and how we fit in ‘the family’. The story of our early attempts at boyfriends, girlfriends, lovers, and spouses. The story of our secret wishes, devastating disappointments, inner desires, and hidden dreams. Our health stories. Our parenting stories or the story of how we never parented. The story of all those losses, who, when, why, where, how…
And don’t forget our short story! How did our day begin? What are we facing today, tomorrow, next week? What happened to us yesterday, last week? What are we dreading at this very moment or looking forward to? What disappointments are we dealing with? What struggles, goals, challenges, are on the top of our minds? What bad news have we just been delivered? We get up each day never knowing. Was today a day that lived up to our expectations or dashed them by the wayside?
In light of the story that underlies the face we present to the world each day it benefits each of us to do a few things. Make yourself aware of your story each day. Be sure the face you deliver to the world reflects as best as it can a face you want to be remembered by. Question the story behind the faces you meet. How could their story be the cause of the face you see and what can you do about that? What response can you give to a person in turmoil? How can you present yourself as a person who understands? How do you smile at the unsmiling? Allow time for the frazzled? Encourage the defeated?
You may not be able to make a huge difference, but at least your story will include the fact that you tried. And if you are wondering about my story, where did this post come from? What happened to me that made me write this post? It was a story! Yep, a good old book titled, A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. It’s a curmudgeon’s story, you know, how he got that way. And it is sure to give you pause, long enough to consider the question; What is your story?