“Story is important to us as human beings—it connects us to each other, the past, enriches our present and moves us toward the future.” —Medhi Walerski
I remember when I was a child, the highlight at the end of the day was often going to bed and having my father or mother tell me about their day and then, a story. The way they said it and the way they highlighted certain parts was fascinating.
When I worked as a social worker, the best part of my day was when clients opened up and shared their stories. Their stories were about love, loss, abuse, struggles, hopes and dreams. Through their story telling, I was able to often get insights about their life, their choices and their hope that one day life would be different. At the end of it all, I always had a better understanding of the person and the meaning of their story.
In order for stories to connect and enrich us, we need to feel empathy for others and have mutual respect. For that, I think we need to first be fully present in our own shoes and have self-respect. Then, listening with the intent to understand, comes easy (in our personal and professional lives). Very few people can do this because most of us find it easier to talk rather than listen. I came across someone recently who can really listen – Abubakar Khan – a young man who wants to listen, understand and share stories about people from all walks of life. I had the pleasure of sharing my story with him recently on The Chosen Khan program. In the process, I got to listen to his story.
Do we have time for telling our stories? When stories are told, do we care to really listen?