Scott Fenstermaker’s blog, “People-Triggers,” aims to “Understand what makes us do what we do.” In a fine article called, “The Personal Myth,” Scott explores some recent research on the importance of the stories we tell ourselves in shaping and creating our experience of self and world. “People who come out of psychotherapy testing higher on well-being indicators tend to tell similar personal stories with themes of conquered demons and redemption.The newer story may be no more factually true than the old, because all personal stories are fables, but the newer version is healthier.” In 1983, James Hillman wrote Healing Fictions, a book with a similar argument. This article quotes and links to some up-to-date research emphasizes the importance of the “screenplays” we’re always composing in our heads.
“It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble, it’s the things we do know that just ain’t so.” —Mark Twain
Some (very reputable) psychologists are absolutely convinced that DNA is destiny. Other (very reputable) psychologists are convinced that your personality is shaped by what happens to you as an infant – or perhaps even in the first few minutes of life. This is what I love about psychology: the theories are all over the map and yet somehow everyone is still credible.
One very interesting dimension to personality has to do with the stories that we tell ourselves. Research has increasingly revealed that our personal life stories – our mental self-narratives – contribute substantially to our personalities and behaviors. An excellent New York Times article from 2007 summarizes much of this current research.
As the interpreter of our world, the mind is very…
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