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Journaling about yourself, in the third person (February 2021)

There are three points of view in writing. First person is very personal and uses pronouns such as “I” and “me”. Second person writing uses “you” and “yours”. Writing in the third person is writing from a third-person perspective, as an outsider looking in and uses pronouns like “he”, “she”, or “they” while referring to themselves. By writing in the third person, the writer stands back, or outside of the situation with the intention of seeing the situation more objectively.          

Think about a caregiving relationship that you are in or may be in at some point. You may be surprised to realize you are already in a caregiving relationship whether it be with children, family, neighbors, or colleagues. Before writing, take a moment to review the questions below and reflect on your caregiving situation.

  • What is your relationship to the person you are caring for?
  • What condition are they suffering from?
  • What is being expected of you?
  • What is the expected duration of the caregiving?
  • What are the other demands in your life?
  • What experience do you have with caregiving?
  • What are the expectations you have of yourself in the situation?
  • What expectations does our culture impose on you?
  • What resources are available to you?
  • What support do you have for yourself?
  • How are unexpected events, like Covid-19, influencing your caregiving?
  • What is a reasonable objective for your short term and long term caregiving?

Once you have considered the questions, please describe your caregiving relationship in the third person. Use “he or she” even though you are writing about your own life.

After writing your journal in the third person, then write what you are noticing about the total writing experience and what you are noticing about the content of the written piece.

Here is an example of the beginning of written journal: (Remember, Grant is writing about his own situation):

Grant is a 57 year old executive who has retired early in order to be the primary caregiver for Margaret, his wife of 34 years. They have had a rewarding marriage and share three children and 4 grandchildren, who unfortunately do not live close by. Margaret was for the most part of a stay at home mom. Grace, Margaret’s sister, works full time at her job but helps take care of Margaret in her spare time.

Grant is finding the challenges of the food preparation daunting due to Margaret’s special dietary considerations during chemotherapy. His project management skills are put to good use coordinating appointments, medications, home care, and therapies involved in what they hope will lead to recovery. He and Grace, however, recognize that Margaret’s condition is likely progressive.

Grant would continue to write in the “third” person as the entry continued. He might go on to write about feelings, challenges, or special moments. He writes as if he is describing himself as a third person.