One of the darkest sides of storytelling is that a meaningful story doesn’t necessarily need to be true.
Do you remember fairytales? And the stories from grandma or grandpa that half the family suspected were untrue but which still had a great impact on your childhood?
Storytelling focuses on the outcome, on what it wants to teach us and how it wants to move us. A story doesn’t need to be true to create meaning.
So where does that leave us? Can people use storytelling to manipulate us? Yes indeed: watch the news for five minutes and you’ll see plenty of examples.
How is this story helping me to see the world? What is it prompting me to do? How is this story contributing to the world? The question is not whether the story – all the facts, all the names – is true, but what it’s helping us to build.
Is a story bringing us together? Helping us to get closer to one another? To connect in a meaningful way?
Everything that moves you emotionally can have a story behind it, but not all stories deserve your attention. Emotion is the beginning: where it takes you is what matters.