Friday, October 23, 2009

Beware of Mirrors in the Stories We Tell


Yesterday I was looking for a book on Amazon and reading the various reviews of the book. Most of the ratings for the book were five star but one review was only a three star so I read it first. The reviewer talked about how good the book was, said the research was sound, but then said that the book was ruined because the author threw in a lot of historical research just so he could brag about the important people he had known and worked with.

The next review I read was one of the five star reviews. This reviewer said the same positive things about the book, but then added a comment about how the book slows down a little as the author explains the historical research in an effort to give credit to the scholars who have not been properly acknowledge for their contribution to the field.

Interesting example of Storytelling! Same book, but two people assigned their own meaning to the inclusion of the historical research. What Storytelling often reveals is not fact (neither reviewer can know for sure why the author included the research). Instead Storytelling reveals what our motivation would have been if we were the author. If we are the kind of person who would brag, then we think that’s what everyone else does. If we are the kind of person who would want to give proper credit to fellow workers, then that’s what we think everyone else is doing.

When we judge others we usually use our own criteria to make the judgment. So a statement of judgment can say as much about the person making the statement as it does about the person being judged. Listen to the stories you tell about what others are doing and watch to see if your own motivations to do things aren’t mirrored in the story.

I know I find myself in my stories about others all too often! So I laugh at how ridiculous I’m being and drop the story. Isn’t it wonderful we can all grow and change!


PS This is the last day to enter the book give away!

10 comments:

Wendi said...

Interesting insight. I love to learn from you. :)

5L's said...

a very thoughtful post! it will definitely get me thinking of what i do. thanks!

Sara said...

What a very insightful post. I have learned a lot about myself in just the few minutes I read the post. Your Me Now picture looks fantastic! You are beautiful.

dani said...

I was able to use your story about your daughters seeing friends in the park and each reacting two different ways! I saw a group of friends on facebook who had gotten together without me a year ago and were talking about doing it again. I started to feel left out and started to create a story that they didn't want me, but then I remembered and 'switched' and jumped right in on the planning and being excited to get together (like your second daughter). I checked Amazon for A Light in the Wilderness (unavailable)and Orem library doesn't have it either. Does anyone have a copy they would consider lending? I will be attending your Wed 10 am class in Orem starting Nov 4.

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Wendi, We all tend to think that everyone interprets life the same way we do, but they don't. Watching for that in our lives is interesting! Thanks.

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

5L's, Thinking is good!! :)

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Sara, I love learning and am glad I could facilitate! Thank you so much for the kind words. You made my day!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Dani, I was so happy to hear your story. Do you mind if I use it when I speak and in my new book? (I won't use real names.) Let me know how it all turns out.
Cathy's book is at BYU and can be bought online at http://www.byubookstore.com/ePOS?store=439&item_number=9781934693056&form=shared3%2fgm%2fdetail.html&design=439
It is the kind of book you'll want to own, read very slowly and thoughtfully, and mark up for future reference.
Thanks!

dani said...

Sherrie, You are welcome to use any of my stories that I post on your blog! I love how we can share stories and learn from each other and each other's experiences.
Thanks for the lead on how to find the other book!

Jenny said...

I saw this often with roommates and with mission companions. I had some that I just didn't hit it off with very well and little things they said or did bugged me a lot. It wasn't until I realized that I did those very same things that I started looking at them differently and could love them more. I'm sad that I wasted so much time "judging" instead of loving.