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The Stories That Shape Us

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The Moments That Make Us

Our identities are complex. Simply defined, the way we see ourselves encompasses the memories, experiences, relationships, and values that we’ve deemed important to us. However, from the perspective of others, different depictions, characteristics, and traits help them to identify us and distinguish us from others. Often these external and internal perspectives can collide in competition or cooperation with each other, either creating friction or reinforcement between how we experience ourselves.

As with any given event, multiple points of view are likely to arise. In general, we all see things slightly differently from one another. Likewise, we all seem to see different aspects of the self.

As time goes on, we tend to take micro-moments with us in memory of key events that shape and cement the person we are. So too do we then morph and change ourselves to fit the narrative we’re creating. In this way, the stories we tell ourselves are as much responsible for shaping our sense of self as the critical moments that make us.

Identity is often associated with milestones or significant life events. However, true self-understanding transcends these moments. It manifests in the everyday interactions and stories that leave lasting impressions on us.

Consider the words of Brené Brown in her podcast “Unlocking Us,” where she features Dr. Edith Eger, a Holocaust survivor and psychologist. Eger’s story illustrates how our choices in the face of adversity transforms our identities. Despite her harrowing experiences, she chose to perceive them as opportunities for growth and understanding. Her narrative teaches us that our beliefs in ourselves can reshape our realities.

Similarly, in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” she warns against viewing our lives through a singular narrative lens. Adichie advocates for embracing multiple stories, each adding depth and richness to our understanding of ourselves and our world. Her insights encourage us to see beyond one-dimensional views and appreciate the diversity of our experiences.

Ultimately, our identities are an amalgamation of the moments we live and the stories we tell. By choosing to see our experiences through a lens of growth and possibility, we can shape a self that is not only resilient but profoundly connected to the world. The stories that shape us are the ones that remind us of our innate capacity to adapt, learn, and evolve.

Whether influenced by personal experiences or those of the people around us, our stories hold the power to create and transform identity.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
– Viktor Frankl

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

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