Enlightened Leadership Blog Stories Connect Us February 2023
What gives humanity the capability to engage, learn, bond, discern, and grow like no other being on earth?
The answer is the soul.
Our souls comprise our thoughts, feelings, and will, or choices. Some people call the soul “the heart” of a person. Every soul is as unique as the striped pattern painted on every zebra that’s ever lived. The combination of experiences and personality and what we choose to do with them form . . . well, us. The who of who we are, all eight billion of us. And the who of our souls fuels the why of our actions.
So if we’re so uniquely tailored, if our whos and whys are so different, how do we connect with each other? When my ideas are not your ideas, and my choices boggle your mind and incite your emotions, sending them swirling, how do we understand each other? How can we relate to one another? Even love another?
One answer is through our stories; specifically, the way stories connect us—soul to soul.
Stories tie me to you and you to me, an invisible thread that tugs on your heart every time mine beats. And vice versa. These living, beating threads enable recognition. We might call it the “I get it” phenomenon. And if tugged hard and long enough, our hearts begin to beat together in joint rhythm, producing relationship. If we’re lucky, something more—friendship. Though our backgrounds and goals differ, I can empathize with you through the story of how you became you. And when I describe the agony of a betrayal or the joy of a victory through story form, you get me.
Perhaps that’s why books, movies, and other forms of storytelling stir us more than anything else. When we write stories, whether fiction or non-fiction, we communicate our souls. We’re sharing our thoughts, our feelings, and our motivations. And those common parts of our humanity create a bond. That’s the reason with authenticity, memoirs and documentaries move us. With heart-pounding action or poignant love scenes, dramas engage us. And through emotional storytelling, marketers woo us.
When we get each other, it doesn’t matter if the circles in which we travel are far apart. It doesn’t matter if our threads are different colors or even if my values bump into yours every once in a while. Because of our stories, we can still appreciate each other.
. . . more than appreciate. We can heal each other. Stories can break through barriers and mend broken hearts. Emotional wounds are only healed through emotional means. We can’t tell someone to feel better and have them think their way to wholeness. We don’t prescribe physical therapy for mental health or emotion-laden issues. We talk. We share. We journal. To heal our souls and the souls of others, we tell stories.
Is it time to tell someone your story? Time to hear another’s story?
Is it time to share your humanity?
Through stories, people persuade, enthrall, and heal one another by tugging on the threads that connects us all, the ones that tie us soul to soul. And that’s a beautiful thing.
by Cortney Donelson