There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”
Seems simple, right? You look in the mirror everyday and you recognize your face. You think you know yourself.
I think that self-awareness is a spiritual process and often takes a lifetime. Some will tell you that self-awareness is not a good thing. They will say you shouldn’t be thinking of yourself at all for spiritual development. I disagree. If you are to reach your highest potential, spiritually or otherwise, you must come to be fully and completely aware of your own nature, personality, gifts and shortcomings.
I like to use personality profiles to start with and the enneagram for deeper study. I had a big aha moment when I went for my first personality training. The Littauer’s, Florence and Marita, her daughter, who were leading the seminar required attendees read five books and complete the personality profile. My sister Helen, who is eight years my senior, was attending with me. The first evening after we’d settled in for the night, she said, “Well, how did your personality profile come out?” When I told her she replied, “No way! That can’t be right. You are not like that. Let’s go over this again.” And for the next hour she had me redo my profile, item by item. She knew me, had seen me grow up and felt sure that I’d not replied honestly or didn’t know how. As she expected the results were quite different.
The next morning Helen approached Florence Littauer with the question, “Is it possible to change personalities?”
“Yes, it is, especially if you are a born Popular Sanguine and your parents or spouse is or was a strong Powerful Choleric,” Florence said.
“Wow! That is exactly what happened to me,” I knew something significant had just occurred. That was a turning point moment for me. She gave me permission to be me. Now, years later I still struggle to seek my true self, and yet I know I’m on the right path. And I have a different husband who appreciates and supports my authentic personality.
Too many women, in my opinion, are aiming to please. They know something isn’t right, but what? They try to make everyone around them happy. They are frustrated when others don’t respond with appreciation.
If you identify with this scenario I suggest that you begin with a simple personality profile. Begin to notice your own reactions with people in your family, job and friends.
If you desire to go even deeper the enneagram is a thoroughly tested very old program of nine interconnected personality types. It is best taught verbally. The Enneagram Institute offers a test but I’m not particularly fond of it. If you do take it know that it may not be accurate for your type.
If you need assistance with a personality profile let me know. I coach some women who have never completed a personality profile. It is amazing how revealing it can be.
A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.
– Meister Eckhart
Gail holds a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. She was an educator in regular and special education for twenty years, finishing her professional career as a Braille teacher. She is a Certified Professional Coach with Fowler International Academy. She married Sam after raising three children as a single mother. In 2007 She founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit association whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, & Empowered. Her stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. Her book, Living Learning Loving, published in July 2015, is available for purchase on CreateSpace, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble online.