We are lonesome animals. We spend all of our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say—and to feel—‘Yes, that is the way it is, or at least that is the way I feel.’ You’re not as alone as you thought. —John Steinbeck, author
Not only does sharing important stories from our past help us feel less lonesome, as Steinbeck says, it also helps us move forward after challenging life events. As a friend listens, nods, understands, or personally relates to our story, we feel validated. We begin to understand how our experience is not only meaningful to us but also to another person.
In addition to sharing with trusted indivIduals, invite storytelling into your groups. Use a “Getting to Know You” question or share a story related to the topic at hand. This can happen in book clubs, Bible studies, planning committees, wherever caring people congregate. Tell your stories and invite others to do the same.
Affirmation: I benefit from telling my story.
Coaching questions: To whom can you tell your mother loss story? What difference will it make?