Storytelling is powerful. We get it. That’s why we are here, doing it every day. Did you know it can change your life? Seriously.
Check out this Hidden Brain podcast (yeah - I know, I’m listening to a lot of these lately). It’s about the power of redemptive storytelling to alter the course of your life. I ‘stole’ the title of the podcast for this blog title because it just says what it does on the tin; no need to change what works, except that I changed ‘story’ to ‘narrative’ because I think that stories are the raw material whereas narrative is a longterm commitment to an arc, a framework, and I believe this makes a difference.
After listening to this, I came across this video from the Popup Magazine group. About 6 minutes into the video, the host asks her friends about how they are coping with the Covid lockdown (it was recorded during that period) and you will hear lots of stories of redemption in the making! For example, their strategies are to acknowledge the pain and then find the humor in the worst possible moment.
When you are down and out, reach out to your gallows-humor friends. There are some authors that do it for me. When I was a teenager, it was Henry Miller’s tales from his time in Paris. Some of the situations he describes are so awful that they are cringeworthy. Yet very laughable. Life didn’t give him lemons; it gave him urine - from which he made lemonade. Or so it seems. Yes, in retrospect he was probably bigging everything up to concoct a fantasy and sell his books but I nevertheless found his exuberance for the filth intoxicating and his escapades put my own ‘miserable’ life in perspective… which seems funny now because it’s hard to imagine how someone as lucky as myself could ever be miserable but that’s the curse of the teenage years.
If you are an irascible optimist then the redemptive narrative of your life will seem unremarkable because you do it subconsciously. Yet, even the eternal optimist can struggle at times when things get really bad. It’s worth observing how they did themselves out of their hole. It’s something that we can all practice.
For extra credit, listen to ‘Aspecting’ and remember that it is tongue in cheek.