The Emotional Power of a Story

by andrewcagle

Some stories make us laugh, some make us think, others make us cry. Not all stories elicit an emotional response, but in my opinion, the best ones do. Last night I listened to a story about the friendship between Andy Mills and Kohn Asmore. It was probably a good thing that I was alone in my room, because towards the end I was crying. I don’t know either of these people, but there I was, sitting in a little concrete room, weeping. I’m not talking about getting watery eyes. I’m talking about real tears, with saline and everything.

The story had no agenda. It was simply that, a story from two people’s lives, and Andy was telling it on the radio. And it touched something inside of me. It made me think about the different reasons we craft and tell stories. Sometimes it’s easy to explain, sometimes it’s something myself and other people can’t fully articulate in words.

After hearing Andy and Kohn’s story, I thought about the power of a simple story and why sharing it matters. Maybe sharing stories makes us more empathetic and compassionate people? It causes us to reflect on our own lives in unique ways. That’s the beauty of it. It causes us to reflect. It causes us to grow as people. It takes us out of the world we live in and expands our reality.

A story can unlock a part of a person that was ready to be opened but needed the push. Perhaps the greatest power of experiencing pieces of someone else’s life is that it takes us out of our own for a moment. For myself, stories help remind me that I’m not in this thing called life alone, it’s not about me, and that we’re all in it together. In the end, my hope: that stories would make us love better.

You can listen to the story about Andy and Kohn as aired on Radiolab by clicking on the link below. In fact, there’s not much of a point to this post if you don’t listen.

http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2011/oct/18/slow/