Reflecting on 'Stories That Bind Us'

At Survivors’ Truths, we focus on the healing power of storytelling. A recent New York Times article by Bruce Feiler, The Stories That Bind Us, explored the ways storytelling can be a powerful tool in helping individuals and families cope with traumas.

In researching his book, “The Secrets of Happy Families: How To Improve Your Marriage, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smart, Go out and Play, and Much More,” Feiler discovered that one of the leading predictors of happiness and emotional well-being in children was the “Do You Know?” scale, which measured how much a child knew about their family. The more a child knows about their family and is able to identify as a part of their family’s history, the stronger their sense of self and intergenerational self, both of which are extremely valuable in learning to cope with difficulties and traumas.

Feiler had some advice for those looking to strengthen their family’s narrative. He suggested creating a family mission statement similar to those used by businesses to “identify their core values.” He also noted that the healthiest way to tell a family story is to use what he calls the oscillating narrative: one that acknowledges adversities faced as well as the strengths used to overcome them, rather than telling a story that solely focuses on successes or hardships.

As part of our “Strength in Story” Project, we’re looking for your stories about how you used your strengths to overcome adversity.

- Did having a strong family narrative help you cope with or overcome an obstacle?

- What would your family mission statement be?

- What is your family narrative?

Leave your reply in the comments or submit it as a video to our “Strength in Story” Project.