Humans are hardwired to build narratives. I believe that we do this because it helps us to understand and put meaning to things that are happening around us. Many cultures have oral traditions that pass down learning and beliefs to new generations.
I myself love stories. I literally cannot fall asleep if I don't read at least 5 minutes. And what is a blog except a series of stories? Stories can be very helpful. They help us to understand and put things in context.
|side note: it's hard to find photos of story time that |
isn't just with white people. What narrative is that building?
And this is a big one- stories can also do a lot of harm. It is easy to take a small snippet of something and build a story around it. For example, I walk by you and don't' say hi. It is possible that you will determine that I am angry and from there build a whole story around it. When it's more likely I was lost in thought and didn't see you (like seriously- I am often lost in thought and my thinking face is very much like Carmen's mare face). Funny story- my sister in law was told by a friend that Ed and I were divorcing. She told her friend that that was not true. Her friend said 'no, I know it's true, I heard it from so-and-so'. Turns out that this friend hadn't seen me at church with Ed so assumed we were divorcing. When we learned this we laughed and said to each other should one of us move out?
The problem with stories is that we like to have a villain, a victim and a hero. Spoiler alert- we rarely/never cast ourselves as the villain. We are usually the hero or the victim.
This poses a real risk in the horse world. I see it often- a moment in time is captured and then an entire story is created around it. Reputations can be ruined. People can find themselves and their horse becoming the focus of gossip. People talk like the 'know' things when they weren't even there. Two people can see the same thing and reach different conclusions. Heaven knows that training is not always pretty. Which doesn't mean that it should be harsh.
|let me break up this post with a photo of baby Quaid |
I stole off his breeder's FB page. Isn't he the cutest? (PC Tanya Jangula)
I am very guilty of building stories around Carmen. It has helped me to put some of her behaviour in context but it also resulted in me not tackling something or tackling it the wrong way. It makes us look for things that reinforce our story and ignore the things that don't.
Now there's no way that I am going to be able to stop building stories. It's in my DNA. What I'm trying to do is recognize when I'm doing it and ask myself what the evidence is and whether it's helpful. I am trying to describe what I see/experience and not embellish it.
Have you had similar experiences? Or am I just getting too far out?
|here's the sweetest face to make you smile|
(disclaimer: the stories where my animals are talking are 100% true).