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Your narrative identity changes with time. As well as your personality traits and your well being. You are not trapped. You decide if you want to be happy and the way you want it to be.

As a teenager you are already able to connect your past events to the present self, especially in the turning points life events. It’s called autobiographical reasoning and is an essential ingredient of a mature life story.

What’s your story? And what would happen if you told it differently?


Narrative identity is the unique aspect of self that is tapped by one’s life story. According to this theory (McAdams), personality comprises three levels: traits, goals, and life experiences that coalesce into a life story. It’s thanks to this third level that we can be unique. No one else has exactly the same collection of life experiences.

First you’re an actor (in early childhood), then an agent (from middle childhood), and finally, beginning in adolescence, you become an author of your life.

There’s one crucial aspect - the causal link between past events and one’s present personality, or perspective on life. It’s called causal coherence (Habermas). It contributes to life story coherence by making the links between events and their importance for self-understanding. It can be also thematic, depending on our focus and topic.


Every individual is steeped in a culture or cultures from the moment of birth- and even before, through cultural conceptions of pregnancy- and culture most likely pervades every level and aspect of identity. One prominent dimension along which cultures differ is their orientation toward independence versus interdependence. Parent- child conversations about shared personal experiences are linked to children’s own autobiographical memories and reasoning in adolescence.

“Maori children often grow up experiencing a rich narrative environment through their exposure to these diverse narrative forms, with a particular emphasis on time and internal state references within narratives. Accordingly, Maori adults have earlier autobiographical memories than either New Zealand European or Chinese adults.” (MacDonald)


Narrative identity in adults is connected to well-being, with higher levels of narrative coherence linked to lower levels of depression and higher self-esteem and life satisfaction across cultures. For theories of personality, it is clear that both traits and narrative identity are uniquely important for well-being. For example, conscientiousness shows dramatic age-related changes in adolescence, with lower levels in early adolescence followed by much higher levels in late adolescence.


Making sense of one’s own experiences through autobiographical reasoning to construct a narrative identity may be an important developmental task in adolescence regardless of culture. Life story causal coherence is one avenue toward narrative identity. The development of detailed, resolved, and emotionally laden narratives about one’s own life experiences may also shape narrative identity, even if these narratives do not include explicit references to changes in personality. In other words, you have the power to shape your identity by the way you tell your life story.

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Who are you?

Please take some time to respond

Write it down and then let’s reflect on it.

Are you sure this it the most comprehensive way that describes you?

How many definitions do you need to actually cover ALL the dimensions of who you are?


Let’s start with the most basic and obvious one- your physical dimension of self.

Are you your physical self? Is your body describing who you are? Is it always adequate? If not, why are you so obsessed with the physical appearance? Will the body ever be able to show the way you are deep inside? Does the “idealized” image of your self as your physical representation of the most attainable beauty standard really represent who you are? If you lose 5 kilos, will you be closer to the real and authentic you? Or do you change accordingly to the physical changes in your body molecules? Will what you eat change who you are? Maybe that’s just helpful to discover the most optimal state that you like your body to be in?

The physical self category looks also at our position in the social hierarchy. Are you best expressed when telling your official title, occupation, ethnicity or culture you identify with? Is it also fully you or are you a specific mixture of only the elements that you picked? Are you your culture? Did you change a place of life because you felt you didn’t fit? Are you trying to adapt to the mainstream culture in order to appear more conformist? Or you’re rather a show-your-uniqueness type?


Mind’s aspect on the self would go along with all the social roles you play daily (wife, daughter, sister, friend, employee etc.). Are you the same YOU when you are with your loved ones as when you are at work? You are probably revealing different parts of this complex image. Then which one is closer to the truth? Or can they be both equally truthful but just adapting to the context?

Are you your beliefs, value system, mantras that you repeat daily? Or are you your reputation, the way others see you? Maybe you are your online persona and the social media version presented to others? Would you like it to be true?

Let go of all the roles that you fulfill in society and daily life. You are not all of this. You may try to be the best version of your own definition of the best … (partner, friend, mother). But this is only a projection. It is only your ego wanting you to “evolve” and “be more”. When you undress from all these layers of social expectations of your roles, who are you then? Who is there deep inside? Are you a feeling? Are you a knowing? Are you a being? Go way beyond intellect. What is there? Which mystery are you hiding? Give yourself the time to access this special place.

Watch the narratives that your mind projects, but don’t get fooled by them. It is interesting how we choose to believe some of them. They may even be with us for a very long time as we repeat them and start to identify with them. Some of them were developed in order to serve us some purpose. But after some initial period, it may be time to let them go. Let go of the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Be sure of your values. Be ready to re-evaluate your life often.


What motivates you and indicates your actions? Why do you do things that you do? What drives you? Are you truly dedicated to what you do daily? This may be the most helpful in defining who you are. Let your soul be listened to. Give it a space. Trust this message. You don’t need any gurus. Your internal voice is the best guru. Become your own master. See through your own ego.

Who are you deep inside, when listening to your heart? In which circumstances are you truly yourself? What actions does it imply? What activities is your true Self busy with? How can you be sure that it is the true You?

Were you less truly yourself five or ten years ago? Or was the three-years-old you more you, the essence, pure and intact version of you?

Only you know what darker parts of your self-image you want to let go of. You can do it. And you should do it to go further. Do not clinch to past experiences or emotions- there will be nothing new, no matter how many times you are about to reminiscence it. The time for transformation is right now. You have been hurting yourself enough. Start a new path now and move on with your own pace. Trust yourself in order to find your self. It necessitates courage. But that’s the only way of returning to your kingdom. Come back to your self.


Why is it important to be put in categories: me/not me? Will you ever become this vision of yourself that you’re holding in your soul? Will you be happier then? What will happen next? Will you constantly find parts of Self to work on? Will some elements be coming back and needing time and attention to “fix”?

I don’t have all the answers. I am not even close. There are so many philosophical and psychological theories that could help grasp this concept of self. The ideal self, social self the real self etc. I am writing about them in the first chapter of my book.

Today I invite you to choose the most important parts of yourself. The ones that make you grow and that you are the most proud of. You are infinite and so are your thoughts. Never let anyone claim a negative definition of you. It simply means they don’t know you enough if they focus on something negative instead.

Meditate on the vision of yourself that is the most appealing to you. This is the base of a self-development. Prioritizing what feels the most real and letting go of useless definitions of self. Let go of any social ideas of self that were given to you. Be only who you decide to be. The one that feels best.

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