“We Are the Stories We Tell Ourselves”

I was intrigued by the title of this TED Talk. “We are the stories we tell ourselves.”

It didn’t turn out to be what I expected. It’s mostly about how the speaker thinks about the stories he tells as a movie director. Two things stayed with me.

First, there are many levels to a story. You can look at the plot. Or you can look the psychological aspect of the story. Or the political aspect. Or the mythological aspect. A story is like a multifaceted gem. Each aspect reveals something different.

The same is true of life with diabetes. Something happens (the plot). It could be a diagnosis, a “good” day or a “bad” day, reaching a goal or failing to. We make sense of these events by the aspect(s) that we focus on at any given moment. Do we focus on our feelings about the event? Or the reasoning behind the action we take in response?

The aspects of a single story can be contradictory. A “good” day with diabetes can leave me feeling sad in the end when I realize that there’s no guarantee any other day will turn out the same. A “bad” day can make me determined and motivated to more consciously manage my health habits.

Second, what we should focus on is the harmony between the various aspects of the story–NOT the resolution of the story. Resolutions are limited. There is no happily ever after in diabetes. There is only tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. By focusing on the bigger, infinite issues we can go on and not be driven to an end point.

Ted Talk “We Are the Stories We Tell Ourselves” – Shekhar Kapur