Stories Connect Us: A Community Building Initiative

I’ve always strongly believed that stories connect people. That they can bring together a community even while everyone is apart. Read on to find out how to share your stories in an effort to become closer to your fellow community members.
Posted on 29 May 2020 by Miranda.

Stories Connect Us

I’ve always strongly believed that stories connect people. That they can bring together a community even while everyone is apart. 

How many of you have read an excellent book and then recommended it to a friend? Or better yet, have you ever discussed a book with a friend? Then you already know how characters and words bring us together in a way that is truly a unique experience. However, there is more to it than just sharing in a favorite story with your friends and feeling like you understand one another better. Stories make us feel seen and they can expand our perspectives. 


Stories Make Us Feel Seen

“We read to know we are not alone.” - William Nicholson

When I was younger I didn’t fully understand this quote. I read it in passing, decided it was too sentimental or thoughtful, and moved on. Now though, I understand what the author was saying. By reading and listening to stories, we often recognize ourselves in the characters or situation playing out. By relating to the story we realize we aren’t not the only one who feels or acts a certain way. They make us feel seen and heard because they show us we’re not alone in our thinking, feelings, or situation. There is a comfort and security to knowing that others out there can relate to the feelings and actions that we take everyday. 

This is why community stories are so important, they show us how the people around us, our neighbours and friends, can be feeling or thinking the exact same way we are about a certain topic or issue. It’s also important because local stories have an innate quality of representing the place where you live. Through this we can support and relate to one another as a community which is why it is so important to read stories from the people who are around us everyday. It makes us feel not so alone.  


Stories Expand Our Perspectives

On another note, as much as we can see ourselves in stories and they can bring us together through being relatable, they can also give us a new perspective. Perhaps you read a story where you don’t necessarily agree with the topic or the actions of the character, that is an opportunity to understand the world through a new lens. It lets you see things from another point of view and to understand why people sometimes do the things that they do. Stories can make us more empathetic and understanding towards the people in our community. It helps to build a community by celebrating and understanding our differences. 


Stories Are Powerful

They bring us together by telling us we are not alone with our feelings or thoughts, while also providing the opportunity to understand those around us better. Especially those who are closest to us in the community. That is why we read stories and share them, nearly everyday we express stories to our friends, and it is to find connection and understanding. 

This June, MHPL is launching a community story series and we want to hear from you. Once a month we will be asking for submissions of 300 words or less to post on our blog for the community to read. 

Every month will have a different theme. For June we will be focusing on stories from LGBTQ+ individuals to celebrate Pride Month and to spread awareness. If you have a story to share please follow the guidelines and submit your story here.


Sources Consulted

Wroe, N. (2014, January 10). William Nicholson: 'The novelist who thinks that "story" is a dirty word had better be a genius'. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/10/will...

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