The Power of Story Listening

The Power of Story Listening

I am so excited today to be part of the 835 story tour.  Stories are such an integral part of how we think, feel, share, and express our lives. We talk in stories, dream in stories, think in stories–our lives are one giant story.  Too often we share our stories as if they were news reports or weather bulletins leaving out all the wonderful juicy details.  Our stories express our gifts, experiences, doubts, fears, joys, insecurities, power, and relationships.

A few years ago I was traveling solo across the country. One of my favorite things about traveling solo is the number of heartfelt stories I hear.  At one of the bed and breakfasts where I was staying I struck up a conversation with one of the owners.  As we were talking her dad called and their conversation reminded me of one that I would have frequently with my own dad.  After she hung up the phone I told her so.  She then shared with me that her mom just died a month ago. She shared (after I asked) that although her mom had been frail she died rather suddenly and her dad was now ‘broken hearted’.  As she was sharing her story I could see the mixed emotions in her face  a. she needed to share her story talk and b. she didn’t want to burden a complete stranger.   As I walked back to my room,  I was struck by how honored I felt that she shared such an intimate story with me–here it is almost 3 years later and I still remember the story.  I remember her story as I go through my own issues with aging parents.  Listening to her not only helped her but it helped me.  That is the beauty of being both a story teller and a story listener.

It strikes me how rare it is to have people who REALLY listen to our stories without judgment or advice or wanting to share their own story.  It is unusual to be in the presence of someone and feel that at ease with just being in our story, no questions, no judgments, no advice, no analyzations just the story.

As Michelle at Wicked Whimsy shared yesterday how our stories hold a lot of insights and importance.  It is vital to have someone in our lives who serves as a witness.  Someone who can be present to our words and our stories.The wonderful concept of ‘holding the space‘ for someone. When we are able to share our stories in a loving supportive environment we are able to hear ourselves talk, to grow, learn, process and be happier.  As a career counselor the first thing I do is openly listen to client stories–we can gain such rich nuggets of life experience, the joys and the pain, which then allows us to move forward in a life we love!

To be truly heard by someone is a gift, both to ourselves and the listener.  Who do you have in your life who truly listens to your stories?  Whose stories do you truly listen to?

Thanks to Nick Piggnott for the perfect StoryTeller Photo

Wanting to write your next story or process through an old one?  Click here to schedule your free 20 minute Get to Know you Session where we can talk on the phone and start building the story where you live and work happier!!  Not in Columbus?–no worries I also work via phone and Skype!!