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Self-help

Why Life Stories Change: As You Look At Your Own Life Story You See Yourself Differently

By Brent Jones

Worth reading 😎

Why Life Stories Change is a quick and simple read with lots of highlightable quotes!

Synopsis

We have a choice in putting together the narrative of who we are, and whom we become. We can pick which of the events we connect with, what we conclude about them, and then weave and reweave them into our story.

If our Life Story creates our identity, then we must include all the lives we have experienced, besides those that we have personally lived. A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, but even so all we have is “right now” and it is our own life that seems to be the clearest to us.

I believe we have a choice in putting together the narrative of who we are, and whom we become. We can pick which of the events we connect with, what we conclude about them, and then weave and reweave them into our story.

Coincidences have become clearer over time. As the story changes as I retell it, I find that it changes me. I become different because of how I see the story. In some ways it seems like we continually create who we are but use the same events to shape our own conclusions

I admit, the title of this little book was what first attracted me. I wanted to know why life stories change and how I see myself differently as I have aged. I’m not sure that this book gave me a concrete answer to this question though. 


The author shared a few samples of his life story rhetoric as examples of how looking back he has reevaluated the importance of a particular event. He has a little more experience than most in retelling his life story as a member of a men’s church group focused on bonding. Mr. Jones first noticed that the stories of members in the group shared changed with the retelling over time which led to the thoughts contained in this book.


I would have enjoyed more personal stories and more development of the topic of why life stories changed in the book. The book was finished before I had time to mull things over. I was left with the question of what I was supposed to do with this idea of retelling life stories. Was the author encouraging me to just reflect on these events? Was I supposed to write my life story paying particular attention to how I saw events as I was writing? I felt at loose ends at the end of the book. 


The text was well edited, except for the words Little League which were not capitalized when used. Having been born a mere stone’s throw from the capital of the Little League World Series stadium, this was a glaring issue for me. Other than that, there were no major errors that I found.


I enjoyed the quotes from book characters, authors and celebrities that were sprinkled throughout the book. I also enjoyed reading the segments of Mr. Jones life story he chose to include. His About the Author was very well written, so much so that I would have enjoyed hearing more about some of those events in the book itself.


Overall, it was a quick and simple read with quite of things I felt were worth highlighting. 

Reviewed by

I am a voracious reader. I've also self-published several books. My interests include homesteading, traveling, specifically in Mexico, off-grid living, natural healing, herbs, and teaching. I enjoy reading everything from paranormal romance to prepping.

Synopsis

We have a choice in putting together the narrative of who we are, and whom we become. We can pick which of the events we connect with, what we conclude about them, and then weave and reweave them into our story.

If our Life Story creates our identity, then we must include all the lives we have experienced, besides those that we have personally lived. A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, but even so all we have is “right now” and it is our own life that seems to be the clearest to us.

I believe we have a choice in putting together the narrative of who we are, and whom we become. We can pick which of the events we connect with, what we conclude about them, and then weave and reweave them into our story.

Coincidences have become clearer over time. As the story changes as I retell it, I find that it changes me. I become different because of how I see the story. In some ways it seems like we continually create who we are but use the same events to shape our own conclusions

How you see yourself changes



“How you arrange the plot points of your life into narrative shapes who you are—and is a fundamental part of being human.” This is the subtitle in an interesting article titled Life’s Stories, published in The Atlantic in 2015. In that article, Monisha Pasupathi, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Utah, offered much insight on this subject. She stated: “In order to have relationships, we’ve all had to tell little pieces of our story.”

We share our life stores every day. In just our greetings with others, here are some examples of that: “Hi, where are you from?” “Where did you grow up?” “Which school did you attend?”

Recently, I watched a salesperson standing at the entrance of a store in a local mall, making eye contact and smiling as people passed by. A lady said hello back, and the two of them walked into the store together. I was nearby and overheard what happened next. The salesperson greeted the customer, asking where she was from, and received a smile and a reply in return. She mentioned a town in California where she grew up, and the salesperson replied with enthusiasm as she knew the town well. They reminisced about a street they shared in common. Both women relaxed and enjoyed getting to know each other. It was clear they had made a connection by sharing part of their life story.

We see our own lives as a series of events, connecting the events with narrative that then becomes a story, our story. The resulting story, that we to a large degree have constructed, has a great deal to do with our self-identity.

In the last twenty-plus years I had the opportunity to tell my own life story in front of a church group of men at least twenty times. Each time I shared my story, it was always a little different, as I added, changed, or withheld certain details or events. I had thought more about the story, had new experiences, and my memory altered with the time that passed. Yes, I was recalling it differently because I would reflect on events and see them in a new light.

In that same time frame, I heard a few dozen men present their life story and then often heard them tell their story again after a few years. The emphasis, substance, and even conclusions of their stories changed for them, as my own had changed with each new telling.

Life stories are like books. They have plots, themes, timelines, and characters. We choose which of these are important to us and we connect these events in a narrative, shaping and reshaping our self-identity. Art, music, poetry, literature, service, our heritage and even food can influence us even to the point of being part of our life story.

People come and go in our lives, some becoming significant characters in our story as events unfold, but then later in life seem less important. We look back at these people, filtering all we have been through with our memories. Indeed, the anonymous poem opening this book suggests that, “Some people come into our lives for a reason, some for a season, and some for a lifetime.” Some feel God sends the people that are needed. Others who may come bring challenges and darkness. I believe we have a choice in putting together the narrative of who we are, and who we become. We can pick which of the events we connect with, what we conclude about them, and then weave and reweave them into our story. Finding or choosing a better perspective later in life can make all the difference.

If we reject the case for being able to reshape who we are, then we are left with a deterministic view of our identity. Some who embrace this belief claim that people are wired to be what they are. This view says that since we didn’t choose our parents, or the time or place where we were born, we are therefore programmed by cause and effect, resulting in our current circumstances.

It seems clear that this deterministic view is false. All you have to do is tell your story to a friend or family member, or even write down how you see things now, and then do the same again in a year’s time. Your story will be different.


About the author

I am a, writer, reader, consultant, career development coach & seeker of knowledge. I do a lot of a pondering about books, art, authors, music, poetry, service, kindness, & most of all, "people." These are influences that help us develop identity, change it (even reinvent it) as we go through life. view profile

Published on September 18, 2019

Published by Kindle Publishing

9000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Self-help

Reviewed by

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