Storytelling has been at the heart of our civilizations since the very beginning of our human existence. It was how our ancestors learned to survive and evolve in this world and the way they understood their own identity within their tribe or people.
Throughout all of history, different cultures have told the stories of their ancestors and the tales of the previous generations to teach the future generations lessons and hold their heritage close to their hearts. From the Native Americans to the Greeks, from the Chinese to the Maori, stories have defined people and their cultural identity, keeping their traditions alive and telling new stories to add their mark on history for the future generations to come.
Stories can bring people closer together through a deeper connection that transcends nationality, religion, or race.
When we hear a story, and put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we start to build an understanding of the other person’s experience and we can relate to what they may have gone through. It helps to put our lives into perspective and see that we are not the only ones in the world with those similar experiences. It changes the way we can think about other people, no matter where they are from. It starts to break down the walls of separation and show us that we are much more similar to each other than we ever thought.
Sophie Weldon, the founder of the amazing HumanKind Enterprises, tells how stories diminish fear and can heal one another.” Even just sharing your own life story can help to connect you to someone else and sharing your personal experiences can teach other people lessons for their lives. Telling stories to one another can reduce our feeling of being alone and connect people on a deep and real human level because we can all relate to one another through similar experiences and memories.
All of the cultures and peoples of this world have something to teach us. There is something beautiful in every culture, religion, or mythology and, if we could embrace them all, we could learn so many amazing things! Just as we have something to offer about our cultural identity, so does everyone else from different nations. We all have a different perspective and outlook on the world and those new ideas and perspectives could give us so many different insights.
While traveling and meeting people, I have made an effort to hear the stories of their lives and the stories of their cultural heritage. The more and more people I meet around the world, the more I see how we are all so similar and have so much in common. By just hearing people’s stories, I can now relate and understand different cultures around the world and I don’t feel so separate from them anymore. I have learned what true love for your country means from the Syrians, the respect and love for our planet from the Maori and Native Americans, the importance of family and community from the Greeks, and so many more incredible things from people across the globe.
In today’s world, we have incredible access to stories and histories from cultures all over the globe and we can so easily connect with people on the other side of the planet. But with this comes another factor – which stories are true and which one’s aren’t?
Through our media, we are being told many stories with many narratives from all points of view, so we want to be aware and open to hearing all sides. For example, I know many Syrian refugees personally and I know that they are amazing and kind people. Yet you might also hear a story about refugees that is completely different and negative in the news – so it is up to us to share the real stories and promote love and tolerance for all people!
Yet even with all of the different stories and media, our generation is the first to have the chance to make a big impact and connect people on a global scale. We can so easily become friends and share our stories with people from all over the planet and start to bridge that gap of misunderstanding – one story at a time.
I believe that our generation will be the one to bring the people and cultures of the world closer together.
How Can We Take Action?
Each of us has the power to share our story and inspire others through our past journeys, experiences, and mistakes. You can start by sharing your stories with others and asking their stories in return. Of course, travel has helped me so much to reach out to different people around the world, but even if you can’t travel, our world is so connected today that there are plenty of people waiting just outside your door. Everyone that comes into our lives can teach us a lesson or inspire us in some way through their stories. Start off even with your family, your grandparents, your parents, and go from there.
By listening to a story from someone from a different religion or culture, you can now share their story with others and therefore pass on that human connection and bring even more people into the movement. Together we can share and spread stories that inspire and empower others – creating a more hopeful and connected future!