Explore and Commit
There are two core sets of action – explore and committing. The first set of actions is to explore different aspects of your identity. The second is to make decisions about who you are and who you might be.
There is a lot to explore in terms of your identity, so there will be a lot of exploring of identity before full commitment. That’s the way it works, but you can commit to lots of parts of your identity along the way. It doesn’t happen all at once and sometimes you will change your mind about different aspects of your identity. Identities evolve.
There is a very important model here by James Marcia that shows the stages that you go through as a teenager in developing an identity. There are four “identity states”, that represent how much you have explored and how much you have committed to. The titles are a bit academic, but they are important.
Made It – Called “Identity Achieved” (lots of exploration with high degree of commitment)
Good Trajectory – Called “Identity Moratorium” (lots of exploration, but incomplete commitment)
Pretty Much Drifting – Called “Identity Diffused” (little exploration and little commitment)
Didn’t Really Start – Called “Identity Foreclosed” (little exploration, but high commitment to an identity imposed by others)
Because this is a journey, the key is your trajectory. Are you exploring the various elements in your identity? Are you making or getting close to commitments to your identity? You don’t have to be in the “made it” category. It’s your trajectory that matters. Remember, it’s a journey and you are “becoming.”