Evaluating our lives can be a tricky task. When one begins to actually sit and think about their story, they can often have a hard time knowing where to begin. It's easy to say to yourself, there's just too many places to start. Do I begin in childhood and work my way forward? Do I start with where I am now and work my way back? Clearly, there are many ways to go about this, but we find that it is often easiest to start with the question "what was the moment when everything changed for me? There was a pre-me and a post-me after that event." You might already begin to see that this is likely your primary self defining memory. Again, we are able to recall these memories with a good degree of accuracy with little effort. Likely, having just read the question, a moment or two have already materialized in your mind. These moments are of such import that they change the way that we view ourselves, others or the situation that we are in. These are the moments that make us who we are. These are the moments that our self narrative is crafted on. When you have that particularly important self defining memory as an anchor, the rest of your story will likely fall into place.
These moments can be moments of great conflict or wonderful opportunity. The birth of your first child, the failure of a relationship, the completion of college, all of these can be this pivotal moment for you. Let’s say that graduation from college is your pivotal moment. What particular challenges did you face in your attempt to graduated? What did you learn through your time in college? What initiated your desire to go to college? How has receiving a degree affected your ability to achieve your goals? How have you grown through college? Starting at these pivotal moments, you are able to ask yourself questions about who you were before and you have become since, which helps you flesh out your story and what details are truly self-defining memories.