Over the summer I read “The Road Back to You – An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. It was a brilliant eye-opener, not just pulling the veil back on my own personality but on the personalities of everyone in my world. One of the most accurate personality profile tests I have ever encountered. But it wasn’t all feel-good and fun – it was at times, a great big kick in the guts. Reading my own profile including my deadly sins, negative attributes, thought patterns and attitudes left me feeling almost winded and wondering if someone had read my diary. And worse, I realised that everyone who read this book and worked out that I was a type one would now know my deepest fears and my greatest downfalls.
After reading a book that shakes you up as much as that one you simply cannot go back to living and being as you had before you picked it up. So, at the end of 2019 I sat down and came up with a few things that I was determined to start doing so that I don’t spend another year going around some of the same mountains.
So here they are….
1. MASTER MY INNER CRITIC.
Type One, also known as The Perfectionist, is the personality type on the enneagram with the loudest inner critic. It shouts at us constantly. In my mind, there is always the right way and the wrong way, and I have to do it the right way. If I don’t, I’m not sure what will happen but surely it must be bad, right? Your inner critic is the first one right there to tell you that you aren’t doing it right, that there is a better way you could be doing it, and there is always room for improvement.
The problem with the inner critic is that it never sleeps, it never celebrates and it never lets up. Leaving you feeling deflated, discouraged and downright exhausted. And if you don’t learn to master it – it will leave you paralysed. Stuck because of fear of failure.
Perfection – the unattainable attribute. A quality too many of us strive for and yet Christ makes it clear that it doesn’t come by striving. It actually comes by resting – resting in the perfection already attained for us through Christ.
So how do we master the inner critic? We talk back to it. Learn to converse with it, rebut it, and stand up to it. Whatever you do, don’t let it push repeat. Master it, or it will master you.
Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. Romans 12:2 (TPT)
2. RECEIVE CRITICISM WITHOUT DEFENSIVENESS.
Once again, the perfectionist in me hates getting it wrong – it’s even worse when someone else tells me I got it wrong. So often, our first response to criticism is to get defensive. To explain our side, to fight our corner and to convince you of why we did or didn’t do whatever it was we did or didn’t do.
But what if criticism wasn’t met with defensiveness but rather with a gratefulness that someone cares enough to say something? What if it was met with a willingness to listen and a genuine attempt to understand what they are trying to communicate to us. Criticism (or critique – which everyone thinks is nicer but we really dislike it just as much) could move from highlighting our weakness to making a weakness a strength. Criticism could in fact begin to grow us. It could become a friend instead of a foe.
Next time someone brings you a critique, stop and say thank you.
3. REFUSE TO LIVE WITH RESENTMENT.
Most of us walk around with expectations. Expectations of ourselves and of others. The only problem with expectations is that we very rarely write them on a street sign and carry them with us! Expectations are more often than not, unspoken.
Resentment is that feeling of frustration when someone isn’t doing what you think they should be doing. Resentment so easily creeps in. It is like a quiet anger that bubbles and brews below the surface.
When the hubby doesn’t put his dishes away after you have clearly just tidied the entire kitchen, and now you roll your eyes every time the poor boy takes a dish out, like “do you expect me to wash that too?” Honey, that’s resentment.
And when your colleague who asked for your help on a project gets acknowledged by the boss, you find yourself snickering to yourself because, “they couldn’t have done it without me, I did my job and part of theirs and I don’t get a pat on the back”. That my friend, is resentment.
But what if we chose (made a deliberate decision) to forgive ourselves and others more. What if we chose to forgive those around us for not meeting the expectations that they didn’t know they were supposed to be living up to. What if we refused resentment entry and chose instead to believe the best in each other. I kind of think maybe, you would walk around feeling lighter (and much less frowny).
Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves
release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Matthew 6:12 (TPT)
SOMETIMES WE NEED REMINDING.
I listened to some teaching by Craig Groeschel recently where he shared about retraining the pathways of our brain to begin believing what God believes about us. He challenged his listeners to begin every day by saying out loud a list of daily declarations that deliberately challenge some of your negative self-beliefs. I realised that if I was going to change some of my deep seated old habits I was going to have to retrain some deeply ingrained neural pathways.
Here are my daily declarations:
- I am more than enough, through Christ.
- I am who I am and do what I do, but by the grace of God.
- Jesus is first in my life.
- I exist to glorify Him.
- I love my husband and I will serve him each day. My husband loves me.
- I love my kids and will teach them how to love God.
- I am disciplined.
- Christ lives in me therefore I can ask in his name and see miracles.
- I am growing closer to Jesus every day.
- I am a leader who develops leaders.
- I will rejoice in pain.
- I am creative and driven and a blessing to my home and others.
- I take all thoughts captive and surrender them to Christ daily.
- People matter over tasks.
- I bring my best and then some.
- Mistakes are ok, they are what grow me.
- I am forgiven; therefore, I forgive others.
- I am content, I do not need to compare myself to others.
- The world will be different and better because I am here.