Is This The Biggest Lie In The World?
‘My life’s not interesting;’ ‘Who would want to read my stories’; ‘I’m not a good storyteller’ etc; we’ve heard it all. That your story ‘isn’t good enough’ is possibly the biggest lie in the world, but where does it stem from?
It’s widely accepted amongst psychologists that, generally speaking, people like to talk about themselves. Studies have shown that the areas of the brain associated with motivation and reward are significantly more active when talking about oneself rather than someone else – even when no one’s listening!
‘Inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, just waiting to be released,’ argued American writer Robin Moore. So why are we so hesitant to believe that our lives hold relevance? That our stories are important and deserve to be told?
“The Thief of Joy”
The primary reason: comparison; or “the thief of joy,” as Theodore Roosevelt called it. Integral to our socialisation, we compare ourselves to others for a multitude of reasons; explored by psychologist Leon Festinger in his 1954 ‘social comparison theory’. In a bid to understand our own positioning in the world, we hold ourselves up against others of a similar ‘level’ to make accurate evaluations of who we are.
By ‘downward comparison’, we look at others we consider to be ‘worse off’ than ourselves; reinforcing the idea that we’re doing well or ‘better’. By ‘upward comparison’ we look at those we consider above us in either skill, ability, or social positioning and strive to be better. Too much upward comparison has been linked to diminished self-esteem and even contributing to depression.
The tendency to negatively compare ourselves has only been amplified by the dominance of social media in the 21st century, as stated in Psychology Today; ‘A fascination with celebrity culture and the prevalence of carefully-manicured social-media feeds only exacerbates the [negative] effect by exposing people to an endless stream of others’ seemingly perfect images, homes, jobs, skills, and families.’
Combating Your Own Worst Critic – You
The real reason we don’t like comparison? Judgement. No one likes to feel like they’re being analysed or reviewed; but you can’t let judgment from others trick you into thinking your story isn’t worth telling.
There are loads of ways you can start to stop caring so much about what others think. In this Psych Central article, there are several tips and practices you can utilise to combat the fear of judgement. One of which is taking back control over your own feelings, through regulation methods such as meditation and yoga.
But did you know that writing about your own experiences in itself is a way to regulate your emotions and promote a sense of well-being? It’s almost like getting your story out is actually quite good for you… So it makes sense that hearing stories is also pretty good for you too.
When we hear stories, our brains release several hormones including oxytocin and dopamine; mood-enhancing and empathy-inducing chemical byproducts of a good narrative. It’s pretty much a natural high.
Why You SHOULD Tell Your Story
With all that said, let’s run through some reasons why you SHOULD tell your story:
- You’ve had enough experience to write a novel as interesting as any.
- Only one person has lived your life; you have an entirely unique perspective.
- Someone could learn something valuable from you; even if you can’t see it.
- You can help induce positive chemical change in someone who’s feeling low.
- You may discover more about yourself in reflection.
- You create psychological connections with others that are created through sharing stories; i.e. mirror neurons.
Fundamentally, the only person that doesn’t think your story is good enough is you! Stop being your own worst critic and start taking control of your story today, with Iternal. Short or long; written, filmed, or recorded; Iternal provides you with the means to capture your memories and the all-important stories, the way you want. Sign-up today for free and see what 10,000+ others are logging in for! And while you’re here, check out the rest of our blog space for more content!