Narrative Identity: What Stories Do You Share About Yourself?

When someone asks you,  tell me about yourself, what do you usually tell them?

Northwestern University psychologist Dan McAdams says that our life story isn’t an exhaustive one of everything that is happened.  We make “narrative choices” and our stories tend to focus on the most extraordinary events, good and bad, because those are the experiences we need to make sense of and that shape us (as stated in The Two Kinds of Stories We Tell About Ourselves).

For me, there are usually three pieces I share with others:

1. I grew up in a small town in Northwestern Ontario.
2. I chose to go to university in southern Ontario.  I  was 20 hours away from home and at a school where I didn’t know anyone.
3. I later moved to Toronto where I taught grade 8 and became a curriculum consultant.

If you were to ask me about myself now, I would probably talk about the fact that I am at home with our three children (ages 3, 2, and 1).  Yes, you read that correctly 🙂

Before kids, I was very focused on my career.  After kids, I realized that I didn’t know who I was and hadn’t for a long time.  With time away from work, I no longer could use my career as my identity.   Since then, I’ve been on a search to figure out who I am, how I tick, what I’m interested in, and who I want to be when I grow up.

My narrative identity is one that very few know.  It’s the one that I play through in my head; it’s a timeline of events that I want to rewrite.  Very few people know it.  Eric knows most of it (my hubby).

My current narrative identity includes three overarching themes: death, bullying, and control.

I think I’ll start with death.  It has felt very prevalent in my life.

3 Replies to “Narrative Identity: What Stories Do You Share About Yourself?”

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