In Others’ Words: How Stories Conquer Fear

So … the robot.

I came upon him while walking with my husband and youngest daughter during a a foggy day in Carlsbad, California last summer. Some ingenious artist painted him on the side of a building.

And yes, this painting told a story. You can come upon stories in the most unlikely places. We expect them within the covers of a book. But stories also appear in a conversation between two acquaintances who become friends. Stories are written down in journals that are found years later, when the ink is faded and the author is a distant memory. Stories are shared in kitchens and around campfires and during walks in the rain and yes, even via text and and Facebook posts and Snapchat and Instagram.

We love story … the connection it creates between people. And by telling our story — our true, unfabricated story — we become braver. And by doing so, our hearts become bigger. We are able to love others more when we accept our stories for what they are — and when we accept others’ stories, too. But, you know what else? We are also able to love ourselves more when we embrace our story. Not the cleaned-up edited version, but the “this is who I was, this is who I am, and this is who I want to be” version.

In Your Words: How has story made you more courageous? How has story helped you love more?






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  1. November 9, 2017, 12:12 am   /  Reply

    Beth, you absolutely have to see “The Iron Giant”, if you have not yet done so. The robot really reminded me of the title character.

    I’m not really qualified to address the main point of the post; I have not conquered fear. I am terrified of how bad it’s going to hurt tomorrow (for it will assuredly be worse than today).

    As for loving…I would not want my worst enemy to feel what I am feeling now, as I write this,and I have had some pretty nasty enemies, the kind that needed ‘enhanced interrogation’. I’m comfortable with that…I mean, sometimes you just NEED a fruitful conversation…but I would balk at putting my own current pain on another. I’m hard, but I’m not psychotic.

    • November 9, 2017, 9:13 am   /  Reply

      I will check out the movie, Andrew.
      And I would, once again, respectfully disagree with you, my friend.
      You conquer fear on a daily basis. You face it, hour by hour, and do not let it win. You do not let it rule you or define you. You remain, as always, Andrew. An honorable, courageous man. A friend to many. This is unchanged.

  2. Delores E. Topliff
    November 9, 2017, 7:17 am   /  Reply

    This may not be quite the response you’re looking for, but from childhood on for nearly all of us the magic words, “Once upon a time,” instantly make us relax, sit back, and expect to enjoy and learn about other times, places, and people, usually giving us greater perspective and wisdom to assess our own times and situations. Long live story!

    • November 9, 2017, 9:14 am   /  Reply

      Dee: You are so right. Those words enlarge our hearts, don’t you think? And in a sense, make us braver, too, because they call us to our own “once upon a time” adventures.

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