Rehearse the good stories

Turns out memories are not static, they change as we re-tell them and we re-feel them too. So I decided to start choosing which stories I focus on. I decided to tell the ones that show people’s good side because I had started doing this for myself.

I choose to tell funny stories or that story about how nice you were, the time you rose to the occaision, the first time I saw you smile. It helps me cultivate a generosity of spirit, it helps me extend the benefit of the doubt to you and even muster up enthusiasm for the very odd things the wonderfully quirky people in my life do.

I have dropped the deadweight so now I don’t have to tell as many stories about people being awful. I still speak out to end violence against women, name racism and oppression but this is not the realm of our chat today. This is about the family you choose to surround yourself with, the people you love and the lost art of story telling.

’tis the season of coming together, the kids are home from school and you are apt to see a lot of your extended family of choice this season. I want you to try the following. Over the next few days look for the moments that make great stories about the people you love then tell them to other people.

Yes, your drunk uncle passed out on the chesterfield at noon. This is a boring story. He does that every year, no one is surprised, it’s not funny ad you missed the bit where taught your kid to play the spoons last night. That’s why you invited him, right?

Forgive people the stupid little annoyances, don’t tell those stories until they become “A Big Deal” and everyone is mad. Extend them the benefit of the doubt. Yes, Taunty Nat did drink too much wine back in 2002 on New Year’s Eve (and in 2011…) but if you are still telling that story in 2014 you may have missed that she’s a bit nicer than she used to be.

Don’t regale people with the fact that your beloved is a pain in your ass, tell them about the moment at 3am when you had the best chat in years simply because both of you couldn’t sleep. Tell the story about how you and your cousin used to play Frogger until your thumbs cramped and when you played with your son last night those great memories came flooding back.

So, go on, go find the great stories. Rehearse them and tell them until your friends beg you to stop bragging what a great holiday you had. They really don’t mind.

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