Why our own stories have such an impact on our lives

Why our own stories have such an impact on our lives

by Natalie L 21 Feb 2020

Everyone has a story to tell. Our entire life is built around one big narrative – our very own autobiography, and within this autobiography lies the story of our everyday life. This big story has been meticulously crafted over time, refined and retold to those around us. It includes major events, turning points and breakthroughs, all of which have shaped us to become who we are today. When the time comes for the tale to be spun, it's no surprise how much scrutiny we place on it. However, is this due to prideful ego or something deeper?


It reflects who we are

Every story must have an author and we, of course, are the authors of our own stories. As authors, we craft and weave various life events into a flowing narrative and not just one big fact sheet about ourselves (how droll!). We handpick events which we personally consider important and incorporate our feelings and reflections into them. Through this process, our life stories reflect who we are as individuals – they become an extension of our personality, values and beliefs. 


It impacts our decisions

The events which took place in our lives and more importantly, our reflection of those events inadvertently influence the decisions we make. These range from minor decisions (such as avoiding a food stall which gave you a bad case of diarrhoea in the past) to major turning points in life. Recall the time you wrote a personal statement for your university application? You probably strung together a series of experiences related to your course of study and explained how those experiences led towards your passion for the subject. Indeed, our stories often enable us to be introspective and understand ourselves. The decisions that come in life are in turn affected by how well we know ourselves.


It shapes how we perceive our future

While our stories significantly reflect who we are, it is important to not get too caught up with them and fall into the trap of becoming defined by them. Life is meant to be organic and fluid, but if we start to believe that the sum total of our lives amount to only what has happened, then everything becomes static. This might be especially difficult for people who have painful memories or who experienced events which made them lose confidence in themselves. Not only would it affect their decisions, it might also affect the way they perceive themselves and their potential. It can be dangerous if we allow ourselves to be trapped in our past as it prevents us from moving past it.


Our life stories say a lot about ourselves as the events that play out in it have a role in shaping us to become who we are today and will be tomorrow. However, it is extremely important to remember that our stories are only as significant as we allow them to be. Not everyone wants or even needs their story to be told, and that's completely fine.