Self Awareness

Have you ever done some out of character and said “that was not me”.  I am amused when people say this.  I don’t think a spirt possessed them for a few minutes.  It was a side of them that maybe rarely comes out.  When I was growing up there was even a saying “My evil twin did it”.  The definition of evil twin is an imaginary double humorously invoked to explain or excuse uncharacteristic or reprehensible behavior.

The picture is from the Self Realization Center in Encinitas.  How well do you know yourself?  Meditation is one way to reconnect.  A recent article listed some reasons to take personality tests, one of them being it feels good to know yourself.  For the other reasons click here.  Tests can help you relate better to others especially if you also know their type.  I have taken many tests over the years.  Some were for work and some going back to my concentration in industrial psychology (scientific study of human behavior in organizations and the work place).  The knowledge learned from industrial psychology can be applied to the solution of problems at work, for example with communication issues or teams that are not getting along.

I just took a class on the Enneagram.  This test identifies nine types of personalities – reformer, helper, achiever, individualist, investigator, loyalist, enthusiast, challenger and I am the peacemaker.  Out of all types I am most upset by conflict, so some of the division we are hearing about in the news is even more stressful to me than other types.  We nines are also out of touch with our own anger (which I have found can lead to resentment).  The Enneagram also gives you the mode you go into when under stress or evil twin mode.  One of the main take aways for me is when I am stressed I become stubborn. I also need total rest to reduce the pressure.  My type is the most likely to binge watch Netflix under stress.  The most useful exercise done in class was looking at a problem.  Every type then chimed in with suggested solutions all were good and very different.  It was stressed one type is not better than any other but our types can be filters and create a narrow to way to view life.

The other test that was the most useful to me was the Strength Finders from the Gallop poll group.   It has 34 themes and I was given my top five.  One of mine was harmony which fits as I am along peacemaker in the Enneagram.  We all had to take the Strength Finders at work and write our top five strengths outside our cubicles.  There was one employee in my group who would never write his top five themes and he would not tell me why.  The day he left he finally revealed this.  With every new boss we had he would find out his or her top five.  He would then tell the new boss he had the same top five strengths.  He said he was then immediately “in good” with the new boss.  I think he used the test for evil rather than good but it was a pretty clever idea….

Is there a downside to knowing more about yourself?  If you don’t know what needs fixing, you don’t have to fix it.  Looking at the parts of our personalities that cause us problems is not always easy.  It can be hard work to change habits and our ways of thinking.

“The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.”  Annie Savoy from the movie Bull Durham.  It really has helped me to learn more about myself.  Let me know if there are any tests that you feel have benefits.