Personality is a wonderful thing! It provides us with variety, and keeps the spark in our relationships. How boring life would be if every tree in the orchard were an apple tree! How tedious our days would be, if everyone were the same. Our lives would be like those “built overnight” neighborhoods, where all the houses look the same; like they were designed with a cookie-cutter! It is the differences that keep us discovering — and I for one, need the differening personalities to keep me on a growth pattern!
Now, if you aren’t familiar with personality profiles, let me help here by explaining a little. I have to set the story up for you — because this week, I made a discovery of my own.
Personality profiling is used all over the workplace these days, to help corporations learn about team dynamics. Profiling tools are used to help workers discover what needs adjustment in their working relationships. Some Human Resource departments use profiling tools, to learn whether an applicant desiring a job would really be a “fit” for that particular job. Police departments create profiles in order to catch criminals…. it’s fascinating stuff. And uncannyingly accurate!
Simply put: there are four basic personality types. Everyone on the planet carries all four, in varying degrees. And, while some people are similar, each combination is unique; mixing with our individual learning styles, our level of emotional development, etc., to define our personality; our Personhood. Additionally, most of us utilize different forms of ourselves depending upon the pressures of the environment we find ourselves in…. Short version; one of the main keys to healthy living is choosing to do whatever it takes to heal and grow– The end goal is to become consistently stable, in holding to the same personality in every environment. This is called “congruency”… although no one comes to it quickly … or perfectly.
Understand here, I am talking about Emotional Quotient (which involves inner life; feelings, principles, values and morals) — as opposed to Intelligence Quotient (which involves outer life; facts, cliches, status and task). Relationships are part of the EQ of life — When relationships are run in IQ, they fail every time….
But EQ is hard to grasp; it’s like learning a new language, especially if inner life wasn’t addressed in bonding years. EQ is intangible and relationship based — most of us need help to “get it.” On the other hand, IQ is easier to get hold of, because it is task oriented and has to to with the tangibles — “just the facts, please.” As a result, the majority of us live our lives in the IQ levels, avoiding the pain of digging into the EQ, for as long as we can possibly get away with it….
Personality types vary in degrees. To put it simply — here are the four styles – 1. The Driver; the lion, or choleric… 2. The Inspirer; the otter, or sanguine…. 3. The Steady; the golden retriever, or phlegmatic….. 4. The Conscientous; the beaver, or melancholic…..
After years of behavioral analysis, mediating conflicts, helping couples decipher “missed moments,” I made a discovery of my own this week. You know, the “aha” moment, the “synapses” – when the left and right brain connect, and you wonder why you didn’t “see it’ before….
My husband is a “lion” — by that I mean his personality type. He is one of those energetic, determined leader-guys, who enjoys being out in front forging a path. He could cut a path through the jungle with a machete, and not mind the challenges of being the first to get there. His secondary personality type is the “otter.” You know the type; always telling jokes; drawing people in with his stories. When it comes to his learning style, he has this mind that never forgets a name. It has to be a gift. I say that because I have a hard time with names. I remember faces, and then my mind runs through the alphabet — “Was it an A name? B?”
At one point, I thought I could improve my mind-remembering skill-level; I didn’t realize the problem was part of my genetics. Because my relationships with people are important to me, I tried a course in memory-association. This particular course was excellent — the problem was the student…. Here was the proposed process: Think of a picture that reminds you of the item (or person) you want to remember. Give the picture a name that relates to their name, or a feature of their person. Well, the course promises that the next time you see the person, you will remember the association, etc. Hence, success.
I must have been missing that day — that part of my IQ level wasn’t developed yet….. A lady came to visit us. In the midst of a sea of faces, I learned her name; “Mrs. Stack.” She was a a rather large woman, with short, blonde, straight hair. So, in my mind, for some reason, I pictured a haystack. Go figure. Did it work, you ask? Well, the next time I saw her, the part of recalling the image worked. The yellow haystack showed up in my mind; but so did self-doubt. I called her “Mrs. Needle.”
You’re smiling. I can’t help it. My mind just goes blank.
My husband is a lion. Like Aslan, in the Chronicles of Narnia, he isn’t a tame lion, but he’s kind….
Me? I’m a ”golden retriever,” with a little “beaver” thrown in for good measure. I’m the team player who doesn’t like to be alone; who dislikes sudden changes; is mercy-motivated and is happy to help administrate the details. My kids give me a hard time when I’m writing on the laptop too long. “Come out and play,” they say. Between the two of us, Bill and I have a combination of all four styles in our marriage – which, theoretically, works really great when all inner conflicts have been resolved. It gives us a complete offering of all the styles… Great for child-rearing, and problem solving.
The “aha,” you ask? It was this week. I had a picture go through my head… had to be God-breathed. It made me laugh, actually. Picture this: A golden retriever with a lion’s mane tied around its head. Silly? Perhaps. Think about this… Golden retrievers and lions are the same color, but they are not the same. They will never be the same. Lions roar and establish territory. Retrievers bark and couldn’t care less about territory. Lions can walk ahead, and work alone. Retrievers need a pack, or companionship.
I realized this week that for one reason or another, I had placed undue expectations on my God-given personality. As a result, I had been struggling with guilt when I found myself unable to follow through with those unspoken expectations. No one put it on me — I just absorbed it over time. When or how I picked it up, I’ll never know. I think it must have happened gradually — an incremental “weighing down” if you will. Somehow, I thought I had to be more “lion-ly” in my day-to-day life…. I felt guilty for my emotional genetics, something God never intended. Finally, when it surfaced, my hubby and I worked through it. “I’m so tired,” I told him. “Something has to give.” Then, came the vulnerable question. “What do you think?”
“I didn’t know you were carrying all that. I don’t want that for you,” he said. “Let’s fix it.” Did I tell you he was a kind lion — and my best friend?
Sometimes, without realizing it, we try to change ourselves, denying who we were created to become. Sometimes, we decide to dislike the personality God gave us because we want to gain greater acceptance (we think) or wider approval (we hope). Sometimes, we allow circumstances and relationships to weigh us down, changing us for survival. Sometimes, we just slam the door and refuse to think about it.
But it’s part of our purpose on the planet — this discovering of design and purpose. God’s intention is to strengthen our inner selves, so that we live our lives in truth, adhering to His created purpose. How long has it been since you asked Him who He wants you to be?
He’s got a plan, you know. And it’s a good one — with a future and a hope. But it might involve a little change….
(C) 2010 DG — Awakened to Grow. Duplication without permission prohibited.