Anyone who has been living in the 21st century knows how significant social psychology and personality has become in many aspects of our lives, including our relationships with one another and even leadership in the workplace.
While I’ve always been a huge fan of the Meyers Briggs personality spectrum (Shout out to my fellow ENFP’s), it isn’t until recently that I’ve started to delve into the Enneagram. If you have no idea what I am talking about, that’s okay, because this post will still be for you.
I’m a Type 3, the kind of person who never feels like her work is complete, who never feels like what I’ve accomplished is good enough, who is a perfectionist by nature and beats myself up way too often, for fear that I am not meeting my greatest potential. My ambition, while a wonderful thing, is also my greatest curse.
Most of my life, I have always sought approval and validation from others, believing that my performance is what would make others accept or respect me. This, of course, when written or said aloud, is crazy, but it’s something within my nature, as a three, that I have always struggled with. Even from childhood, I remember striving towards being the best in academics and art so that my parents would accept me and be proud of me. Fast forward to high school, I was active in two different sports, several clubs and president of Orchestra, while also playing in my school octet and balancing all honors classes. I’m exhausted from just writing it all down. College, same thing. And, so my point is this. While this desire to be successful is a good thing, it can also lead to an unhealthy heart and mind when the root of such drive comes from a place of just wanting to be seen and accepted by your world around you.
So, even if you aren’t a three on the Enneagram or still have no idea what all this crazy personality talk is all about, let me ask you a few questions. Because, as I said, this post is still for you.
Do you have a hard time finding the balance between work and rest?
Do you have a hard time seeing yourself through the lens of no one else?
Do you sometimes not feel worthy of love?
Do you strive constantly to be the best version of yourself? Does it ever get exhausting?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, and even if you did not, read on, because I believe that understanding the roots of these questions will help us better understand one another and how to live a more healthy+balanced life.
Earlier this year, I started recognizing, more than ever, the flaws and the weaknesses to my character. If you want to learn more about yourself, live alone. You’ll learn a lot, more than you care to. It’s why I suggest that if you are a young adult and can move out of your parents house, do it. It will benefit your personal growth and future marriage and family. Commercial over. That’s a post for another day.
So, back to flaws and weaknesses. As I began to face myself in the mirror, like really face myself and notice freckles that I didn’t even know were on my face before, I realised something. For so much of my life, I have only seen myself through the eyes of others. So, I made a choice this year. Through the help of a few close friends, I have begun to shed back the layers, the kind that allows me to be free and know that even if I do not succeed, even if I never write another book or accomplish something with my life, I am loved and I am worthy of love. Not only am I worthy of this love from human relationships, but I am worthy of God’s love.
True love sees you for who you are and still loves the heck out of you, anyways.
It took a long time for me to finally realise that it didn’t matter what my performance looked like, God would accept me and be proud of me for who He created me to be. Love and acceptance is not based on performance. This lie that you have to become somebody in order to be valued or respected by others is a complete lie. You, for simply being human, are enough. You, for being a creation of God’s artistic hand, are enough.
I want to share these lyrics from Sleeping at Last’s song, Three:
i finally see myself.
through the eyes of no one else.
it’s so exhausting on this silver screen
where i play the role of anyone but me.
i finally see myself.
unabridged and overwhelmed,
a mess of a story i’m ashamed to tell,
but i’m slowly learning how to break this spell.
and i finally see myself.
now i only want what’s real-
to let my heart feel what it feels.
gold, silver or bronze hold no value here,
where work and rest are equally revered.
It has been the most freeing year, to finally see myself through the eyes of no one else. To see myself through the eyes of God and know, in the deep recesses of my soul, that I am not only cherished and loved, but I am seen and enough, even if I feel that I am far from where I want to be. By nature, I will always be a perfectionist and someone who never feels as though she is doing enough, but I have begun to make a choice. I can either let this over achiever nature rule me or I can let go and realise that it doesn’t matter as much as I think it does. We need to let go and just ride the waves of life sometimes. As my grandfather wrote to me in one of his letters, “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Relax+love God+life every day. Your smile, your laughter, and your happiness, God meant for you to have.” What a beautiful reminder to us all.
Work is important, but so is rest. It is important, now more than ever in our technological fast paced world, to find time to rest your mind. Sit in silence for a few minutes, take a walk in your neighborhood, cook your favorite meal, kick up your feet and read a fun fiction book. And, don’t think about what is next on your to do list. Take your watch off if you need to and don’t allow the countdown of time itself to rule your day.
This is my letter to you to say: Go look at your reflection in the mirror. This sounds crazy, but just look at yourself for a few minutes. What do you see?
This year, I’ve begun to see myself without the layers I had stacked on top of one another. At the root, I am just an artistic human, a boho spirit that has a crazy sense of humor, a heart drawn to wanderlust and meeting new people, a girl that is obsessed with words, and a soul that wants nothing more than for others to come to the freedom that knows that you matter and you are welcomed just as you are because Jesus is inviting you to nothing more. Yes, we will be given callings and burdens to work, to reach, to minister all the days of our lives, but at the core, if we remember who we are, we will not become burnt out or overwhelmed by the pace of which we must run.
Do you see yourself? You are a pretty awesome human being. You do not have to strive to be someone that you are not. For each of us, all the different personality types and enneagram types together, need one another, weaknesses and all, to move forward towards hope and a better world.
Friend, I am so happy that we get to do this life together. Let’s strive towards understanding ourselves and one another better. Let’s listen to the needs of those around us (including the psychological makeup that makes a person who they are). Let’s find ways to both work and play. Let’s remember to value rest in a society of workaholics. And, let’s love one another without conditions.
Cheers until next time, friends!
*P.S. If you are in search of a really cool podcast to listen to, I highly recommend the Sleeping at Last podcast. Today, I listened to the episode where Ryan talks about Type 3’s, more than once, because it’s just that good. And, I highly recommend it. Ryan is a brilliant artist and musician, who is so intentional with the way he creates his music. If you’ve never read up on how he creates his music and how many hidden treasures are in each song, buckle your seat belts, because your mind is going to be blown. In the best possible way. You can thank me later.