Understanding Ourselves as Acceptance

Four Scents Team

Self-awareness is an integral part of helping to overcome stress

It’s interesting that a lot of our anxiety and stress can arise from not understanding ourselves fully. Self-awareness can be challenging or even painful. However, it’s an integral part of how acceptance helps us in overcoming elements of stress. It also is part of celebrating our uniqueness, helping us to understand why we behave certain ways in different situations. It can also help us to let go of expectations of ourselves (and others) and explore what makes us tick.
    Woman writing in journal as part of self-understanding

Tools That Can Help Us

Any tool to help discover facets of our personality can be met with curiosity or disdain. Some love a quiz, while others refuse to be “put into a box”. Yet, how often do we label ourselves restrictively? We can use our jobs to define ourselves, or gain our sense of worth from the praise or criticism of others. The idea of these tools is to use them like a mirror – to reflect but not define you. You have the ability to change!
    Woman instructing man to represent the four tendencies

The Four Tendencies

The Four Tendencies (quiz.gretchenrubin.com) was developed by Gretchen Rubin following publishing her book “The Happiness Project”, in answer to questions about how she reached her goal. The framework deals with how you react to expectations. These tendencies – Upholders, Obligers, Questioners and Rebels – influence how you respond to requests, grow and make changes.
   Sign with Introvert and Extrovert to represent the Myers-Briggs indicator    

The Myers-Briggs Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTIonline.com) can helps to reveal preferences that influence the personality in 4 areas of life: decisions, structure, information and favourite world, helping you to realise things such as whether you lean more towards feeling or thinking, introverted or extroverted.
       Silhouette of couple to represent the Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages (5lovelanguages.com) started off with Dr. Gary Chapman, a marriage therapist, looking into why there was disconnect with how couples gave and received love. After looking at years of session notes, he discovered that there were different “love languages”. The framework was expanded to include all sorts of relationships. The languages are summarised as: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Giving & Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. As well as helping to understand others, it helps us understand our unique perspective.
     Diagram of the Enneagram

The Enneagram

The Enneagram (yourenneagramcoach.com) is the more complex of these self-awareness tools, and has a long, if rather mysterious, history. The idea is that there are nine different ways of experiencing the world. It is not our personality or identity but rather as a way we deal with life. It helps us to understand our motivations, patterns and defence mechanisms. Each type “strives to…”, “struggles with…” and has a “stress response”. The stress response is particularly helpful in making healthier choices once identified.
     A counselling session as example of ways to understand ourselves

Embracing Who We Are    

Remember, these tests give us a starting place, but they don’t get the final word. If the above really doesn’t appeal, visiting a counsellor or other mental health professional can help you in your journey of self-awareness. Probing questions from someone neutral to you can help you uncover aspects of your personality and what triggers you. The idea is that once you get a better handle on how you’re wired, you are able to accept this in a more peaceful way. However, you’re also equipped and empowered to note and work on what you’d like to change. This is possible, so there is always hope!

References: The Powerful Purpose of Introverts by Holley Gerth


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