Has someone ever said to you, “Oh, you just need to let go of that story,” or something to that effect?

Often times, stories are dismissed by the new-age, self-help movement as negative. They are referred to as webs of untruth, excuses, or meaningless narratives that prevent us from experiencing true happiness in life. But many a wise people have lifted human stories as a guiding force for good in the world. Take Joseph Campbell, for example. He touted myth as one of the most powerful inventions of humanity, and suggested our stories awaken us to a sense of awe at the mystery of being.

Stories are beautiful. If you ask me, they are the very bedrock of empathy — the keys to connecting with others and recognizing our shared human experience. More than that, knowing and telling our stories allows us to make meaning of circumstances that might otherwise be traumatic or regrettable.

So in celebration of the positive dimensions of human stories, here are 5 of my favorite quotes about the power of storytelling:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.” — Studs Terkel

“Perhaps some day I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.” ― Sylvia Plath

“The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.”  –Harold Goddard

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge,
That myth is more potent than history,
That dreams are more powerful than facts,
That hope always triumphs over experience,
That laughter is the only cure for grief,
And I believe that love is stronger than death.”   – Robert Fulghum