Humans have been telling stories for centuries, even long before we could write them down. Storytelling has been crucial to our evolution. It was how important knowledge and lessons were passed down and it helped us to bring meaning to our lives.
Today, stories remain just as important. And as a fundraiser, it’s a subject I’m passionate about. Hearing the real-life experiences of our community demonstrates how vital our work is. Their stories inspire action and serve as motivation for me to do the best job I can do.
I’ve recently been watching the BBC series ‘Once Upon a Time In Iraq’ and am reminded of the power of stories. The personal accounts are raw and unapologetic – it’s compelling watching. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. It is storytelling at the highest standard.
There’s no doubt that stories can make us laugh and cry! Here are my top 3 reasons why storytelling is good for us all:
Stories can help heal
By now, we all know the benefits of talking therapies, but sharing our personal story can be a helpful extension of this. Many people I’ve worked with over the years find the process of sharing their stories cathartic, and a good way to reflect on their experiences.
For some it can be positive way to reclaim lost voices and identities, for others it can form the final step on a journey and provide some closure.
Stories command our attention
Our brains have a strong tendency to lose focus – it’s estimated that we have up to 2,000 daydreams a day. Our brains spend up to half our waking time wandering. But when we hear an interesting story, this mental meandering drops to zero. So, my top tip if you want someone to pay attention and remember what you’re saying is to tell a story!
Stories inspire us
Hearing the stories of others, especially people who might be in a similar situation as us can be inspiring. I often hear that people will visit the stories section of our website before getting in touch. The stories there can provide reassurance and build courage to ask for support.
If you have a story about Foothold, we’d love to hear from you. Do you have a special reason why you support us, or have you or a family member received our help? Your voice matters and could help others to ask for support.