As a linguistic anthropologist I suggest we could call the human species Homo Narrativus. We are Storytellers! What else? Not only do we tell the myths and legends of our peoples to teach our cultural values and heroic ideals to the next generations; we also cast and recall our personal life experiences in narrative form.
Creation stories. mythology, fiction, television and movie dramas, and history itself harbor narratives we tell about our collective past. As individuals, we each have our own Life Story, complete with Life Chapters, Themes, and our own internal ensemble cast of unconscious archetypal characters as well as our external dramatis personae of social relationships, that altogether comprise our ever-unfolding personal story from which we gather experience and learn and share meaningful lessons.
My interview research about how people conceptualize life events (Your Life Path, 2018: Skyhorse Publishers) revealed three primary genres of Life Story narratives: Epic Adventure (either comic or tragic), Cyclic, or Seamless. Which is yours? Epic adventurers tell stories of their heroic adventures (Departures, Fulfillment, and if ‘comic’, heroic Returns) cast in terms Joseph Campbell called the Soul’s High Adventure. Some prefer to think of their life as organized by cycles: 7-year, 10-year decades, or 12-years or more; the ending of one cycle opening to the beginning of the next, bringing flexibility and fresh opportunities. Still others would rather live their lives as picaresque adventures, welcoming randomity and enjoying life’s little surprises, ready to navigate crossroads as they arise and more focused on the journey than any destination points.
Images are from pixabay.com
The Principle of Better Endings, then, is a narrative device within our creative Homo Narrativus survival toolkit that we can use to reflect on where we are at in our Life Story and how we got here, so we can envision or shape our next steps in the direction of our highest desires.
Better Endings to You!