As I have been adapting to life alone again, I have realized I am a compendium of other people’s habits and preferences. I have started to ask my self “why?” as I do things to see if it’s my habit or someone else’s I picked up.
I ask why, to find out if I am doing things (not just what I’m doing but also, how I’m doing them) because I want to do them or if I’m just in the habit or it I’ve been taught to do them. In a way, I am applying a (non-scientific) study of the old question, “nature or nurture.”
As I have progressed and continue to go through not just the grief, but also learning (or is it reminding?) to live alone, life goes on around me. So I have to get up and go to work. I have to eat. I should clean house. I have to … well, you know all about the activities of daily living. It’s amazing how just the act of getting up to go to work as changed now that I’m alone. Actually, everything has changed.
Because I am seeing things differently, I am questioning how much of “me” is really me. How much of what I do is because of someone else in my life, past, present or future?
For example, I purchased something on the internet and the box it was shipped in is still sitting in the dining room. It’s been living with me for a week. It is patiently waiting to go in the recycle bin. As I moved it around yesterday, I was about to criticize myself for its existence and its perceived messiness. Instead, I caught myself and asked, “Why is it still here?” Truth be told, I had stopped noticing it. I originally asked myself if I had a use for it elsewhere. Nope, wrong size. But. It is still sitting in the dining room. Among the obvious ‘why’s, (why isn’t it the recycle bin) is also, “why does it matter?” I can easily provide the list of who it would matter to.
That got me thinking that some of the ‘why’s are based on others’ perceptions of what is a home. Going a bit larger, some of the ‘why’s are based on others’ perceptions of who (and how) I should be. A home is an easy concept. But, see, I’m all about possibility and what could be and how to make that happen. It is part of what makes me such a good coach. The box had possibility.
Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
One way to the heart of who I am is to take the MBTI and gain a sense of my personality or baseline. I took a free online version of the MBTI which only gives the letters and brief descriptions. (for the full report and counseling SueAnn is very good at http://activecoachingtechniques.com/contactus.htm) Depending upon my mood I type out as either an INTP or INTJ or INFP or INFJ. Introverted and intuitive stay steady. But, sometimes I think and sometimes I feel. Sometimes I have structure and sometimes flexibility. How can that be? I have learned other people’s lessons very well.
No test or indicator is 100% true/foolproof/accurate. I have taken a bazillion of them looking for something concrete. Trust me, it doesn’t exist. Figuring out who I am is complicated by my life-long learning experiences. My question is a classic: “Am I this way because I learned it or is this just the way I am?”
So I sat down and thought who and how I was before I turned 11. I felt that my “true self” might be hiding in my past. For all of us, our adult learning begins to overlay our core personality. Then the blending of nature and nurture takes over. For some of us, this learning serves to strengthen what is already there, but for others it produces multiple aspects to personality. Thus, I can type-out four different ways. It doesn’t mean I’m Schizophrenic or confused, just complex. Like you.
Here are some of the words describing me back when dinosaurs roamed the earth:
daydreamer, head in the clouds, creative, imaginative, happy, talks too much, doesn’t pay attention in class, off working on her own, too smart for her own good, laughs a lot, in a hurry, always asking why, plays well with others, sweet, loner, shy, good friend, loyal, makes up and tells stories, too sensitive, loves to draw, and loves to help people.
Such a happy right-brained child. And my dad was a left-brained engineer. No wonder we had conflict! I was all over the map and dad was following a planned out route. Between dad and schooling, I had no chance. School taught me how to sit still for long periods of time and not be disruptive to others. Thank goodness I could daydream my way out of that restraint. My dad tried to make me into an engineer. He ran pop quizzes and drills on math and science. I found them fun and challenging, in an ‘exploring an alien culture’ sort of way. Guess what my first declared college major was. Yup, civil engineering.
Today, I take pleasure in a neat and organized home. I find it restful and calming. But, I can also live with a stray box in the dining room. Both are aspects of who I am today. My “go to” style is to stack things up until I can’t stand it anymore.
Go back in time and figure out who you are today. Knowledge is power. The knowledge of how you have come become you, will give you power for today and your future. Because part of the knowledge is knowing where you need to compensate for your weaknesses. I know I need to plan out my day to get things done or it will disappear into dreaming, research and YouTube videos. That dreaming and research (even some of the YouTube videos) will be useful some day, but TODAY, I need to get something done.
Do you know who you are and how you got here?
A dream with a plan is a goal. A goal without a plan is just a dream.
PS: You can run a search for For a free MBTI, run a search or here is one for you to try http://www.humanmetrics.com/index.htm#intro for the interpretation and more info on the types, here are two reliable sources http://typelogic.com/ and http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/overview_temperaments.asp