What advice can you give to others about discovering who they are?
I thought I was kinda crazy. I kinda wanted answers.
In an earlier post, You. Are. Not. Crazy., I wrote about steps I took to discover who I was. It seemed as if I had lived with feelings of confusion for the greater part of my life and I was tired of it. I was tired of the endless soul searching and the eternal conversations in my head, focused on self discovery. They never seemed to be silent. I just wanted to be. Without all the internal therapy sessions. I didn’t want to work on improving or finding areas that needed to be improved. I just wanted to enjoy life. Wanted to enjoy it without feeling the need that something was off, and that I would find the answer in a bottom shelf self-help book on the top floor of a Barnes and Nobles.
Going through a divorce tended to exacerbate this feeling. The best therapist I’ve had said something very wise and along the lines of, “You don’t know who you are. You’ve invested so much of yourself and your time into your marriage/dating/partner that you don’t know who you are.” That really made sense to me. I really wanted to find out who I was.
So what did I do to discover who Chris was? So where did this journey start?
To this end, I decided to start looking deeply at my personality. I looked at my zodiac sign for any clues to things that may have made sense. I installed several horoscope apps on my phone and regularly visited one online that I was fond of. Now being a man of Faith, I felt a little guilty for how I went about this. Blame it my strict fire-and-brimstone Baptist upbringing that would have frowned on anything faintly associated with the cosmic. Heresy. At first I sincerely thought that I would have to serve some time “down south” amidst the fiery depths of Lucifer’s playground. But I took all the information with a grain of salt. It was ancillary. Maybe my birthdate coincided with who I was? Who knows. Every little bit of insight helped me. I was desperate.
At one counseling session, the therapist I mentioned earlier asked me if I had ever heard of the enneagram (http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/). Never hearing of it, she prodded further and got me to take a quick online quiz at her desk. This was one of the best moves I’ve made towards self discovery.
The test results indicated that I was a Type 1 – Reformer. This made no sense to me so I decided to delve into the subject further. Over the next few years I learned that who I was coincided pretty closely to the Type 1 on the enneagram. All my strengths and weaknesses were characteristic of my type. This took a huge load off.
So why do I like the Enneagram?
1. It makes sense. The name of the types might not make sense in themselves. But the descriptions certainly did. The enneagram really validated the things I was feeling. It took away (or at least minimized) the guilt of the negative and replaced it with a sense of normalcy.
2. Easy to understand. Reading about the different types and their characteristics is very easy reading. the diagrams also help with understanding the model.
3. Practicality. You can use this in your life right now! There are tons of free resources and you can get an “enneathought” mailed to your inbox every day.