Understanding ourselves and our habits of mind can bring attention, awareness, and intention to our interactions, deepening our relationships. These personal insights can help support us in letting go of those pesky old habitual responses and actions that are not serving us or our highest values and visions for who we are and want to be in the world. Adopting new perspectives, thoughts and actions that assist us in living our best is what transformational learning is all about.
If I want to “be the change” and co-create a healthier relationship with someone close to me, then I see the need to reflect on what has been going right and what can be adjusted in terms of my participation. Through an investigation of the inner narratives I am living in and how they are supporting or are not supporting me I am able to introduce space for growth and change. I do not want to continue with patterns of thought and behavior that are defensive, destructive, and dividing. I want to master instead those that are empathetic, constructive, and unifying.
Beginning not only with myself but within myself, I can look at how I use words to bring myself to life or put myself down. Constantly narrating an internal story that I am not understood or valued prevents me from creating an atmosphere of respect and understanding. It holds me back from living up to my desire to navigate challenging situations with empathy, grace, understanding, and respect. By first treating myself with the qualities I wish to be treated with, I can then treat others truly as I wish to be treated, thus bringing a new way of being to life.
In order to see our personal thought patterns clearly, it is sometimes useful to get an outside perspective. A month or so ago some friends brought up the Myers-Briggs personality test. Jokes were going around about which Star Wars character we each were and which Harry Potter character we were. It was funny, however, I didn’t immediately see any more into it.
Later, I happened upon the Enneagram personality test and thought I would give it a try. It was insightful as well, although, I wasn’t sure what to do with the information. On the same thought-wave as me, one of my friends said she had still been looking at the Myers-Briggs test wondering how it could be useful to her beyond simply reading it for amusement.
The next day, a new episode came out on The Homeschool Sisters Podcast about understanding personality types for use with our families. When we know that someone else (like our child or significant other) has a unique way of expressing themselves and interpreting the world around them, we can then align ourselves in a way that brings harmony to our interactions; we can approach that person with understanding of where they are coming from. Further, having an awareness of our own needs, strengths, and weaknesses that we may not have been giving voice too can bring us to deeper self-understanding, self-respect, and empathy for our own character.
For Spirit to really drive home a critical point to me, another blogger who writes about personality type in homeschooling, shares the idea that we can utilize the Myers-Briggs descriptions for personal growth. Having not only awareness of our strengths and weaknesses but having compassion for ourselves and the desire to harness our fullest potential, we can live more consciously aligned with our highest values and visions, living with the intention to create a better world beginning with ourselves.
Making the world a better place, living in ways that are sustainable, can seem like an overwhelming or daunting task. Yet, if we remember that sometimes the whole world is simply our own immediate surroundings (internal and external), we give ourselves a great deal more power to make effective change. So start small, start inside, and allow yourself to bloom into exactly who you are.
So what’s your “personality type”?