Skip to main content

Life as Story

After food and shelter, man’s basic need is story.  I read this a few days back in The Hindu, but have forgotten who said it.   Stories fascinate us.  Most of the great lessons of life were taught to us in the form of stories when we were children. 

The life of each one of us is a bundle of stories, stories we tell us about ourselves as well as those told by others about us.  These stories create our reality to the extent they determine our perceptions and feelings, and hence our actions.  In our stories, we may see ourselves as the hero, the victim, the villain, or anything.  Our life is completely influenced by these roles we assume.  Consequently, if we wish to make changes in our life, it is necessary to make changes in the story we script for ourselves.

In psychology, there is a whole therapeutic process known as Narrative Therapy.  According to Michael White, a theorist and practitioner of Narrative Therapy, we construct the meaning of life in interpretive stories which are treated as “truth”.  Narrative Therapy encourages clients to script their stories in such a way that they emerge as courageous victors. 

People go to a therapist because they have psychological problems.  In other words, their lives have become problem-saturated stories.  Problem-saturated stories make us live in negative ways.  Narrative Therapy argues that people can continually and actively reauthor their lives.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  You can begin a new story for your life today. 

The Hollywood movie, Legally Blonde, tells the story of a girl named Elle Woods.  She is in love with a young man named Warner who gives her up when he gains admission to Harvard Law School.  Elle is devastated.  She could have written a problem-saturated script for her life.  Instead she takes up the problem as a challenge.  The potential victim becomes the heroine because of the script Elle writes for herself.  She takes the situation as a challenge.  Putting aside her superficial attitude to life (shopping, parties, and the like have been her specialties), she starts studying and aces the entrance test to Harvard Law School.  Warner, however, is now engaged to another woman.  But Elle keeps scripting a positive story for herself.  She becomes a brilliant student.  She is invited by a faculty member, a famous attorney, to join him in defending a rich young woman accused of murdering her husband.  Elle does a fabulous job in the court and wins the case.  She becomes famous.  Now Warner returns to her, trying to win her back.  But Elle is no more interested in him now.  The challenges she has overcome have elevated her to a greater level of consciousness.  She rejects Warner.

Like Elle, each one of us can write positive scripts for ourselves at any time, on any day.  What if Devdas had written an alternative story for himself when faced with challenges vis-à-vis Paro? 

“Life … is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” lamented Shakespeare’s Macbeth when he had created a big mess out of his greed for power.  But life need not be such a bizarre tale, unless we want to make it so.  The simple truth is that we keep on creating ourselves with the stories we script for ourselves.  

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers


  1. Even I am a fan of Elle woods ..specially because she did all work by being laborious , spirited and HONEST ! She NEVER took shortcuts to get what she wanted. For me its even more important be honest to yourself :) Nice post..

    1. It's the honest hard work that raises your consciousness level... Thanks for the appreciation.

  2. I too like story of winners and find it irritating reading about how a protagonist wasted his life... I wanted to kick devdas anyway... :)

    1. You know, Preethi, there won't be any Devdases in the present generation.

  3. I love stories too. I would rather read stories and learn from them than listen to endless preaching. Elle Woods is a strong character. She broke stereotypes. She taught us that just because she looked "blond" and was good in "girly" things doesn't mean that she was incapable of the "serious" stuff. Liked the post very much.

    1. Most of the times, Rahmath, it's the circumstances that defeat us. Most of us succumb to the pressures of the environment. Elle rose above that. Real success lies in that capacity: prove that you r better than the morons around.

  4. I loved the movie "Legally blonde" and the way she carried herself at the end. We all experience /need Narrative therapy in many stages of's like instilling positive thoughts and hope. Well written !


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Ugly Duckling

Source: Acting Company A. A. Milne’s one-act play, The Ugly Duckling , acquired a classical status because of the hearty humour used to present a profound theme. The King and the Queen are worried because their daughter Camilla is too ugly to get a suitor. In spite of all the devious strategies employed by the King and his Chancellor, the princess remained unmarried. Camilla was blessed with a unique beauty by her two godmothers but no one could see any beauty in her physical appearance. She has an exquisitely beautiful character. What use is character? The King asks. The play is an answer to that question. Character plays the most crucial role in our moral science books and traditional rhetoric, religious scriptures and homilies. When it comes to practical life, we look for other things such as wealth, social rank, physical looks, and so on. As the King says in this play, “If a girl is beautiful, it is easy to assume that she has, tucked away inside her, an equally beauti

The Adventures of Toto as a comic strip

  'The Adventures of Toto' is an amusing story by Ruskin Bond. It is prescribed as a lesson in CBSE's English course for class 9. Maggie asked her students to do a project on some of the lessons and Femi George's work is what I would like to present here. Femi converted the story into a beautiful comic strip. Her work will speak for itself and let me present it below.  Femi George Student of Carmel Public School, Vazhakulam, Kerala Similar post: The Little Girl

Face of the Faceless

“When you choose to fight for truth and justice, you will have to face serious threats.” Sister Rani Maria, the protagonist of the movie, is counselled by her mother in a letter. Face of the Faceless is a movie that shows how serious those threats are. This movie is a biopic. It shows us the life of a Catholic nun who dedicated her life to serve some Adivasis of Madhya Pradesh [MP] and ended up as a martyr. If it were not a real story, this movie would have been an absolute flop. Since it is the real story of not only a nun but also the impoverished and terribly exploited Adivasis in a particular village of MP, it keeps you engrossed. It is a sad movie, right from the beginning to the end. It is a story of the good versus evil, the powerless versus the powerful, the heroic versus the villainous, the divine versus the diabolic. Having said that, I must hasten to add one conspicuous fact: the movie does not ever present Christianity or its religious practices as the only right way

The Little Girl

The Little Girl is a short story by Katherine Mansfield given in the class 9 English course of NCERT. Maggie gave an assignment to her students based on the story and one of her students, Athena Baby Sabu, presented a brilliant job. She converted the story into a delightful comic strip. Mansfield tells the story of Kezia who is the eponymous little girl. Kezia is scared of her father who wields a lot of control on the entire family. She is punished severely for an unwitting mistake which makes her even more scared of her father. Her grandmother is fond of her and is her emotional succour. The grandmother is away from home one day with Kezia's mother who is hospitalised. Kezia gets her usual nightmare and is terrified. There is no one at home to console her except her father from whom she does not expect any consolation. But the father rises to the occasion and lets the little girl sleep beside him that night. She rests her head on her father's chest and can feel his heart

All the light we cannot see

Book Review Title: All the light we cannot see Author: Anthony Doerr Publisher: Fourth Estate, London, 2014 Pages: 531 What we call light is just a tiny fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. Most part of the electromagnetic spectrum remains beyond ordinary human perception. Such is human life too: so many of its shades remain beyond our ordinary perception and understanding. Anthony Doerr’s novel, All the light we cannot see , unravels for us some of the mysterious shades of human life. Marie-Laure LeBlanc leaves Paris with her father Daniel who is entrusted with the task of carrying a rare diamond, Sea of Flames , to safe custody when the second world war breaks out. The National Museum of Natural History, Paris, has made three counterfeit diamonds of the Sea of Flames. Four men are assigned the task of carrying each of these diamonds to four different destinations. None of them knows whether they are carrying the original diamond or the counterfeit. Marie-Laure a