Tag Archives: happiness

Family Stories? Happiness? Who Cares?

Blue Happiness GraphicYears ago, when I thought my job included teaching humility, I used to ask the students in my freshman composition classes to write an essay describing “happiness.” No one ever successfully completed that assignment. I didn’t expect success. It was a set-up that allowed me to expose the hazards of writing in cliché. Of course, while my students stumbled over cliches (a small matter) I routinely missed the deeper issue of why so many of us find it so difficult to describe the thing we all say that we want.

pink happiness graphicFamily stories are similar in that we seldom question them. Seldom push beyond the surface. Never mind that we talk in stories all the time—over dinner, at work, on the phone, with friends, with strangers . . .. We seem to regard stories as “just stories,” the way we seem to think happiness is just happiness. We’ll know it when we find it.

Of course, family stories get shrugged off, not only because they’re “just stories,” but because they’re the same old stories. We think we know them. That is, until we ask “Why that story?” “Why that story told that way?” and “What else is the story saying?” It’s an exercise I recommend, no matter what you think your story is. Blue Happiness GraphicIt’ll change your life because . . .

Hard questions don’t have answers. They have stories.

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Story Quote #1—Change Your Story

In his book, The Healing Power of Stories, Daniel Taylor suggests that the right story can make all the difference.

The Healing Power of Stories

“If your present life story is broken or diseased, it can be made well. Or, if necessary, it can be replaced by a story that has a plot worth living. Our greatest desire, greater even than the desire for happiness, is that our lives mean something. This desire for meaning is the originating impulse of story.

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