Discover Who You Are
Discover who you are by examining your temperament, personality and gifting.
Donna was a forty-five year old woman who came to my workshops. While there, she realized she had been brought up to behave a certain way that was not natural to her. Her mother did not accept Donna’s natural personality style. Donna needed acceptance and appreciation, so she adapted herself to gain approval. Trying to be someone she was not caused her unbelievable stress. Once she realized that it was acceptable to behave naturally, she relaxed and allowed herself to be herself. She began to appreciate her personality and enjoy life.
There are basically four personality styles. Each person usually has two strong styles and two styles that are low. See the Personality Quiz and DISC Personality Styles. Often we behave differently at work than at home because that behavior is required of us. We all can show a behavior other than our natural style, but when we do, we become stressed because we have to work at the behavior and suppress our natural tendencies. It does not flow out from us naturally.
There are many reasons a person behaves differently than their personality style. Children are especially vulnerable. The Direct child has a strong sense of independence and protectiveness. He may not have the tools to accomplish this, but still feels a need to take care of others. An Influential child does whatever it takes to be liked and appreciated, including behaving differently. The Steady child needs to avoid conflict and does not know how to stop the conflict. The Cautious child needs his work or accomplishments to be seen as perfect. These needs must be met when the child is growing or the child will mature with gaping insecurities.
Perhaps you had a parent who wanted you to be different. In your formative years, this parent had an influence on you. The attitudes your parent held may have conditioned you to believe something that was untrue. As a child you automatically accepted your parents’ attitudes because they were the only authority you knew.
Take the Personality Quiz and learn if you have a clear understanding of who you are. The Personality Quiz is only a beginning. Observe your life, your likes and dislikes, when you are comfortable and when you are uncomfortable. Begin to understand yourself. Do you like who you are? Do you believe things that are not true such as: “I’m the oldest child so I have to be a good example to my siblings. If one of them does something wrong, it’s my fault because I wasn’t perfect.”
As you grew older, you may have transferred that authority figure to a teacher or a spouse. The advantage is that it removes responsibility for your life. The disadvantage is you do not get to decide for yourself.
When you are trying to be someone you aren’t, you burn out. Maintaining a façade is very difficult. It wears a person down. It is exhausting. Being your true self is much easier.
If you are living with conditioning that you want to change, here are some tips.
- IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM. Consider when you are uncomfortable and stressed. Look at one area at a time. Listen when someone compliments you and you have trouble believing him. Try to understand what attitude is yours and what attitude someone else gave to you. One woman spent twenty years believing she was bad at budgeting money. This was not true. Her father had instilled this in her. Once she began to look at her spending, she saw that this opinion was wrong. She had believed a lie so long, she accepted it without question. Start to question. Look for contradictions in your beliefs. You may be parroting someone else’s opinion.
- GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to accept a different self, to change without excuse. It will be difficult at first, but once you grasp how freeing it is to be your real self, you will want more. Be willing and open to the idea of changing your opinion of yourself.
- LOOK AT YOURSELF OBJECTIVELY. Recognize who you are. Look at your life, your comfort zones and your interactions with people. Consider all areas of your life: financial, social, caring, giving, time, goals, and anything else you can think of. Ask people you trust for their opinions of you.
“My mother said to me, “If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general; if you become a monk, you’ll end up as the Pope.” Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
- REPLACE THE OLD ATTITUDE with the new one. You may have to study, search and read some books to find your true self. Begin to replace your thinking. Every time the guilt or negative mind chatter says one thing, tell yourself, “That is not who I am. I don’t have to listen to you any more.” See Break a Habit, page 49, and Fight Negative Mind Chatter, page 12.
“In the world to come, I shall not be asked, “Why were you not Moses?” I shall be asked, “Why were you not Zusya?”
- BE AWARE THAT LIFE IS COMPLEX. Sometimes the obstacles are too big to handle alone and you need the help of a friend, a professional coach or life strategist. They look at things objectively and can offer suggestions. You choose how you want to live your life. It is never another person’s job to tell you what to do, only to encourage you and help you succeed. See The Advantages of Consulting with a Life Coach, Appendix B, page 137.
- ACCEPT YOURSELF. It doesn’t matter who you are, as long as it is your authentic self. Now you can begin to look at yourself and smooth the rough edges. You have a beginning point to be the best you can be based on your personality, not on someone else’s opinion of you.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- When you were growing up, did your parents make you feel accepted for who you are or did they make you feel that you were inadequate, not living up to their standard?
- Do you believe other people before you believe yourself about who you are?
- Are there characteristics that you believed about yourself that you now know were untrue?
[box type=”bio”] Betty Eddy is a published author and member of the Netiv community. Her work as a life coach has given her unique insight into self help. In her book “Untying the Knots of Life” she deals with concepts which guides the reader though self discovery. [/box]