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Why Story Listening Makes You Thankful

It’s not too hard to be thankful when things go great. But in hard times, thankfulness requires some outside help.

That’s when it especially pays to listen to stories. Story-listening tends to make you grateful, no matter what is happening, in part because it reminds you that happy endings can follow difficult trials.

More than that, I believe that listening to good stories makes you grateful because it first assists you in feeling positive about yourself.

Ten Qualities You Gain Through Stories

Story-listening helps you feel all 10 of these:

1. Powerful

When someone tells you a story, you can discover your ability to imagine the sights, sounds, and feelings the story evokes. You effortlessly re-create the story’s images in your mind. In time, you learn that you can imagine anything in the world – and much that has never been. What power!

2. Rich

Maybe you’re not rolling in money, but you can afford to listen to stories. You don’t need a television or a cable subscription, just another human to tell you a tale. Further, you never run out of new stories. Even better, you’ll be reminded of your own life experiences, which are, after all, a form of wealth you can never lose.

3. Brave

Having faced dangers and adversity – often of (literally) epic proportions – with the characters in a story, you renew your determination – to do better than the evil characters who must be foiled in the end, to face obstacles rather than run from them, to be the one whose actions save the day. Armed with stories, you have new strategies for prevailing and, therefore, are more willing to take on challenges.

4. Refreshed

Stories awaken your senses. When you imagine the scenes of a story, you call on your internal ability to see, hear, and feel. You leave the foggy world of abstraction and anchor yourself once again in the palpable details of scene, character, and action. Further, you leave your own cares behind for a while and can return to them after the story with a new perspective.

5. Connected

When you listen with others, you share the experience with them, even as each listener’s experience is unique. This creates a sense of tolerant connection among you. Further, when you listen to stories with those you love, you may be prompted to tell stories to each other. This draws you closer, as you entertain and instruct each other by sharing the personal experiences that you find fun, beautiful, or moving.

6. Cosmopolitan

Stories let you travel to many lands – without going through airport security!

7. Independent

Storytelling requires no equipment, special facilities, or dependence on foreign oil. When you make a habit of enjoying stories, you realize that you can live a full life even without your television, computer, and video games.

8. Wise

Through stories, you walk in another’s mocassins without getting your feet muddy. You identify with characters, experiencing their points of view and thus increasing your compassion. Further, you learn new ways to act on values and new consequences (both positive and negative) of human decisions.

9. Environmentally Responsible

Storytelling is eco-friendly, humane entertainment. It creates no pollution, adds to no landfills, and harms no animals!

10. Happy

What makes you happier than surviving, with a story character, a life-threatening experience, hopeless situation, rejection, failure, or near disaster? What makes you more hopeful than a series of well-deserved happy endings?

Together, This Adds Up to More

As important as each of these ten qualities may be, they add up to something even greater. After all, who has more reason to be thankful than one who is blessed with power, riches, courage, alertness, human ties, world travel, independence, wisdom, environmental prudence and happiness?

The moral of this tale? Listen to more stories. You’ll be thankful that you did.

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