Know Who You Are (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)
Understanding personality type is a powerful and respected method of identifying and understanding a person's true, inherent nature. Our personality type affects all aspects of our lives, from the way in which we play as toddlers, to the subjects we found interesting or boring in school, to the occupations we find satisfying as adults.
Imagine growing up amid constant reassurance about the way we see the world, use our time, interact with others and make decisions. If this were the case, all of us would grow up confident, secure, honest, independent and loving. Deep down, we just want to be understood and accepted for who we are. It's the real essence of self-esteem (self-acceptance). Not understanding inborn differences is the most common assault on self-esteem…and it goes on every day in most of our homes.
The MBTI, based on the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and the American mother-daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Meyer, is a system for understanding the very different operating styles people have. There are 4 dimensions that make up a person's personality type. Each one deals with an important aspect of life and gives us accurate insights about our own and other people's behavior.
Know Your Defense System (Enneagram)
The Enneagram is a personality system that describes nine distinct patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. Each is based on a "perception filter." Each of us has one of these nine possible "filters" that sets the tone of our whole life... a focus of attention so deep that it is usually hidden from our conscious awareness. This filter, or defense system, was not developed at random. It was based on what we believed we needed to do in life for survival and satisfaction. It was developed to protect a specific part of our self which felt particularly vulnerable.
The secret to freeing our original, gifted core-self is to find out what we used to create the protective, armored defense system that, though helpful, also serves to entrap us. Since we ourselves once built the armored doors, we have the formula for releasing those doors.
By examining the 9 filters and identifying our own we are able to step back and see our own mind at work. We can understand more about our unconscious motivations. The key to this process is to enjoy everything we discover and judge none of it. If we begin to judge what we find, the original self will go into hiding once again!
Personality Assessment (The Ugly Duckling)
Do you prefer people who are the same as you, or people who are different?
If you are like most people, you’re first attracted to people who are different (opposites attract). But after awhile you find that those differences don’t wear well. Often we find that people who see things in a very different way are hard to understand and hard to predict. It’s interesting that we think we like differences, but in reality few of us make much allowance for them. Accepting the differences of others is difficult for even the most open-minded person.
When we identify and understand our own preferences, we’re able to see how similar and different we are from those we live and work with. We can find out where those differences create harmony and where they cause problems.
Understanding personality helps us develop greater tolerance and respect for individual preferences, including our own. If our preferences were not understood or valued by our family when we were children, our faith in our own ability was most likely weakened. In fact, those abilities may not have developed fully because of self-doubt and lack of opportunity to express our particular talents.
Maybe this happened in your family as you grew up. If your parents understood and valued your in-born preferences you probably felt that your gifts and interests were worthwhile. On the other hand, if you felt that your preferences were seen as flaws, your self-confidence may have suffered severely. This is often how self-esteem begins to erode.
We all know the story of the Ugly Duckling…the poor little baby swan raised to think he was a duck. Of course he did not look like a duck, sound like a duck or act like a duck. He did not fit in at all. The Ugly Duckling measured himself against the standards of his family, and he came up quite short. He simply made a very poor duck. His self esteem was non-existent.
The reason we know this story so well is that we can all identify with the little Ugly Duckling: growing up thinking we somehow do not measure up, do not quite fit in. Even if we grow up to be accomplished and successful, there is a part of us within that still feels like an ugly duckling. Getting a clear understanding of the person we were designed to be is the first step in understanding and reclaiming ourselves….of learning what it means to be a swam and how wonderful that is.
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