How storytelling reveals parts of ourselves we never knew existed.
We tell stories because we feel we have something to say. We often don't know what that something is, but we feel compelled to tell our stories nevertheless.
We share these stories because we feel that our experience is valuable to other people in some way. Perhaps it makes them laugh, inspires them, warns them of danger, or lets them know something about us that they might not already know.
Our communication can be something as simple as retelling an event that happened to us, an anecdote, a joke or a deeply personal account of something that we went through or experienced.
Even when people gather at work and share stories of their debauched and crazy weekends, often to an unsuspecting and disinterested audience, the storyteller, often mistakenly, believes that what they are saying conveys something about who they are, even when that thing isn't necessarily something to be proud of.
But, when we dare to share the deeper and more personal stories about our lives and our experiences, often something greater is revealed than we are aware of.
The need to tell stories goes way back in our human journey.
We have passed on information in the form of stories before we could communicate with words, and so we did it with pictures.
Once we were able to communicate using language we passed on information in order to help ourselves and our fellow humans survive. We warned of danger, inspired with insights and understandings, passed on our history and heritage so it wouldn't be forgotten.
Storytelling is a part of our DNA. We simply must do it.
So when we speak or write our stories, both fiction and non-fiction, we are essentially passing down the human tradition of sharing the human experience in words.
And there is always a story beneath the story.
A simple story of going to the shops and seeing some young people terrorising and old man, says something about you as a storyteller. The reason that this incident stood out to you in the first place, over the various other experiences that occurred that day says something about you. The way you tell the story will display something about how you feel about young people, or old people, or injustice, or bullying. How you respond to the situation, whether you get involved or not, will say something about who you are as a person.
And so in every story that we tell, we ourselves are being told.
To some extent, we are being exposed by the stories we tell. But, a writer and storyteller, who wants to learn to be a truly great storyteller, understands that brutal honesty and daring to be totally open and vulnerable is the only way to be a better writer and tell powerful stories that resonate with other people.
So we must become comfortable with the idea that as we tell, we too are told.