"I just started reading that book too," my brother said to me, as he saw the book sitting next to me. "My buddy recommended it to me."
"I just started it," I said. "What do you think of it?"
"It's good. I'm a One."
Of course you are, I thought. The perfectionist. And suddenly the list of One's charactistics ran through my head and he was right... he's a One.
"What number are you?" he asked.
Crap... I was hoping he wouldn't ask.
"Well, I've only read 3 of the 9 personality types...." I muttered, afraid to admit. "But I'm pretty sure I'm a 9."
I paused........ "I don't want to be a 9!!"
We both chuckled, and the conversation moved to something else.
Over the past few years, I've read several books that have to do with "psychology" type topics... relationships, marriage, personalities, etc. Love and Respect was great and really helped me to understand on a much deeper level the differences between men and women in relationships. Boundaries in Marriage was another unexpected one that opened my eyes up to some relational differences as well.
This book, The Road Back to You: an Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery, wasn't just about men and women though. It delved into 9 different "personality" types known as the Enneagram. I didn't take a Myers-Briggs quiz or an ENTJ-esque personality test. I just read the book with an open mind. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for me to get slapped in the face with what I thought was me.
I identified with many (but not all) of the characteristics. It would do me no good to list them all here because, well, figuring out why and how I'm wired is really only useful to me. (Ok, so it would probably be useful to a spouse or family members...)
I viewed this book with more weight than say, astrology signs, and it allowed me to not only see why I may act or respond a certain way, but become more aware of it and change any behavior necessary. I don't believe these types of things (personality tests, astrology signs, etc) are an excuse to just say, "Well, this is how I am, so deal with it." I do believe there are certain traits that we tend to fall back on and if we fully understand them, we can either use them to our advantage positively or work to change when said traits cause us to act in ways that may inhibit positive things.
For example, being a 9 means I'm a Peacemaker... usually a middle child (I am) who felt like their voice and opinion never really matter (I felt and still feel that way at times). Good at seeing both sides of an argument can be a positive (good for having an open mind in training styes)... but can also lead to giving up their opinion in order to keep peace (read, has trouble standing up for themselves).... along with countless other things that resonated with me... in my life, in relationships, in my job and even in the way I parent.
Disappointed at first to identify mostly with this type, I looked back at my life and all the areas and moments where these things had been true. Determined to not let this newfound knowledge make me settle for "this is how i am", I decided to use it to just be more aware.... of myself, of my tendencies, and how I may be able to correct any negative tendencies. It's also allowed me to see where those closest to me might fall, and again, be more aware of how and why they are wired that way.
I love psychology-type books. (If you have any suggestions, please let me know.) It's fascinating to me to learn about how we are wired, how childhood experiences have shaped us to see things certain ways, and moreso, what I can do to become a better person (woman, friend, girlfriend, mom, coach, etc). Take it to the next level and I can understand why someone else may think, respond and act differently... especially in a relationship. Isn't it funny how we want our man/woman to do certain things, or act a certain way, or talk more, or talk less, or be more active, or not be a worka-holic... but perhaps if we understood a bit more about them, and how differently they are wired, we might be able to appreciate those things in a positive way, rather than a negative.
I am grateful for the things I've learned about myself these past few years. Sometimes I wish I hadn't dug so deep, lol, but in the end, I have become a more calm, patient, and hopfully more understanding person because of this. It takes a lot of guts to look inward and wade through some of the crap in your mind (and your heart). So if you have, props to you.