How many of us really know ourselves? I’m not referring to favorite color or tv show or book. Like do you really know who are as a person? What are the top things you value above all else? How do you recieve or interpret love? What determines your self worth? What are your deep desires for your life within the next 6 months? The next year? The next 5 years? Why do you feel the way you feel, think the way you think, act the way you act, respond the way that you respond? Do you feel weird or misunderstood? Do you feel like you are the only person who has the kinks and quirks that you have? Up until about a year ago I really thought I had a good handle on and understanding of who I was as a person. I felt like I understood myself. I thought I knew where my life was going and that the direction it was headed in was a perfect fit for me. Then I had a nervous breakdown and nothing was familiar. Nothing was the same.
“How did I get here?” I asked myself. When I look at these questions that I’ve typed I couldn’t even answer them before that moment when I mentally just crashed. I had dreams. I had things stirring inside of me that I knew I wanted to come out; needed to come out but I wasn’t making a whole lot of effort to harness those things. I wasn’t sitting around making plans or thinking about my 6 month goals let alone attempting to figure out what I wanted out of life a year from that moment. I was surrounded and weighed down by my heavy thoughts and emotions. I was drowning and hadn’t stopped to try to call for help or even find a life vest. While my life’s circumstances were a contributing factor, I also realize now that what I experienced and felt came from not really knowing more about who I was. My value was connected to alot of things such as my job and being a mom and a wife.
I had been in this place of not tuning in to who I was and what my needs were before. Many years ago when my girls were smaller. Everything I did was wrapped up in them and I had to fight through feelings of inadequacy and exhaustion from being a mom to two different kids with two different personality types and two different sets of needs. When it came down to what I wanted as a person there was very little thought put into that. The focus was mostly on making the kids happy and trying to raise them into well rounded humans. I found another purpose that drove me when I started working for a church and honestly it revived something in me. Being there not only reminded me that there was something outside of me that I desired, but also that it was ok to have something pulling on you that didn’t revolve around being a mom. This go round after the mental break down some decisions and self reflection had to be made. What did I need to do to come out of this and get to a place mentally and emotionally that was better? In other words, how did I start the journey to personal awareness and growth?
So I went to this conference right? And one of the speakers started talking about the ennegram test. This is a personality test. Correction, this is THE personality test of all personality tests I feel LOL. I listened to the person speak about it and then I looked it up, took it for myself and lost my marbles at the accuracy of this test. I remember sharing almost instantly with two close friends about how I felt like this test read my insides. It so accurately described who I was as a person that I just couldn’t believe what I was reading. The results made me feel like for the first time in my life not only was I learning more about me, but also that there was more meeeeesss! I wasn’t the only me! I know we all talk about being unique and being an individual. I believe you can still be unique but also be similarly made up the same way as another person. But just knowing that I was not the only person who felt this way, thought this way, needed this way……it made me feel like instead of being this tiny dot in a big circle I was this tiny dot with a whole bunch of other tiny dots hugging me shouting “Me Too!”
My personality type is Type 2, and I swing 1. If you’ve taken the test you understand and if you haven’t, take it and you will. My personality type is “The Helper”. I want to share a few things about my personality type so that I can bring you into my mind a little. Helpers are warm, concerned, nurturing and sensitive to other people’s needs. What stands out most to me in that statement is the sensitive to other people’s needs. I have lived a large part of my life being in tune with others. Sometimes to the point where I feel like I can anticipate what is needed from me without the person having to say much. I’m not just sensitive to others needs but to their pain as well which can be draining especially when it’s someone I’m deeply connected to. I often consume myself with thoughts of how to help someone deal with the pain they are experiencing or help them get rid of the pain. The test also breaks down different parts of my personality and there is one heading listed that says: How to Get Along with me. This is followed by several statements. There are two statements that stand out the most to me on this list #1 being “Tell me that you appreciate me. Be Specific.” Telling me that you appreciate me is great but I like to know the WHY. Otherwise I start to feel like you’re just throwing that statement out just to say it. I have no idea what you’re appreciating LOL. The second statement is- Be Gentle if you Decide to Criticize Me. Words are my love language so just as strongly as they build me up and make me happy they can be damaging to my heart and spirit just as equally.
Some other categories are: What I like About Being a Two (I like knowing what people need and being able to make their lives better) and What’s Hard About Being a Two (For me it’s working so hard to be tactful and considerate that I suppress my real feelings. I spend a lot of time doing this!). But I want to share with you why this test was so important to me and blessed me in more ways than I can say. It helped me to know me in a more intimate way than I’ve ever known myself. It helped me understand myself. This test helped me be more open to growth and change. Through this process there were areas of my life high lighted that I knew I needed to learn from, to grow from and most importantly to heal from. It reminded me that I wasn’t the only one experiencing these feelings but also that I was the one responsible for taking charge of the healing in this area. It is so hard not being able to explain your thoughts to others in a manner that is understandable to the point where you feel kind of crazy! There are so many moments when I try to articulate the answer to what appears to be a simple question with a simple answer but for some reason there would be pressure for me in answering the question. Why pressure? Because, just as I stated above, I am always working to be tactful as to not offend or hurt someone that I suppress what I really feel instead of finding a way to communicate it affectively.
While taking the ennegram really showed some of my positive and praise worthy traits, it also taught me that it was necessary for me to learn how to protect myself and my peace and my thougths and my decisions without the approval I often desired from those around me. I learned how not to accpet something negative that was not who I believed myself to be or who I believed God said I was. I have learned and am still praticing not to recieve negative words from people that don’t push me to be better or that arent’s said in love. And that right there is all an example of why it’s important to know yourself. We often want people to understand us and know us when we don’t understand ourselves or know ourselves. We want to be loved but don’t know how to recieve that love or tell others how we recieve love. When I took this test and showed it to my husband I felt like I was showing him in words how to love me. Not that he doesn’t do an awesome job at that. He has a pretty good handle on my quirkyness and crazy emotions. But I felt like this provided him with a tool to better understanding the why behind why I do what I do because that was confusing for me so I imagined it confused him too.
Knowing yourself allows you to explore growth. Knowing yourself provides you with the opprotunity to love yourself more and to give yourself grace as even God gives you grace. We are flawed and imperfect and that’s ok. Taking the opprotunity to really learn more about who you are deeply can help push you towards your dreams and purpose because you come to a place where you know why you are the way you are, what you need to grow and change and how those around you can help nurture you into the version of yourself you see in the future. Most importantly, learning more about you helps you set up better boundaries and block the thoughts or feelings of others that are not meant to push you into a better version of you but to hold you captive in your own feelings and thoughts of inadequacy. I am not only grateful that I took the ennegram test, I am grateful that the test provided me the avenue to learn more about how God sees me and who He says I am. How God loves me and how He made me this way to serve a purpose. And now I can be more intentional in serving Him and focus less on my flaws. I have grasped the concept that learning more about my flaws makes me stronger. I know they are apart of me but they are not all of me. Instead of magnifying the areas that appear to be weaknesses I choose to focus on how I can turn them into a super power. How are you going to use your super powers today?