April 29, 2010

Learning to Accept Myself

I am learning how to accept myself, and it is so hard to do. I have lived my entire life feeling inadequate and unable to perform well (to other people's expectations). Over the course of time, I have developed patterns and habits that have shielded me (excuses, really) and have provided a way out, you know, a way out of undesired circumstances. Now that I am about to embark on this new journey, I need to come to terms with my own self, my own personality, and all the quirks and habits I have developed during the past 40 plus years of life. Not a small feat, agh!

The good news is that as I spend more time before the Lord, opening myself up to Him, and seeking His wisdom and guidance for my life, I am slowly coming back around to my true self. The Lord has gently and graciously peeled back the layers of old onion skin, exposed the new fresh skin, and given me time to harden off (like in planting sense -- to become firm, steadfast, immovable). This entire process has been long, but well worth the time and investment emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and even physically. I have grown and changed and learned so much about who I really am -- I have actually come to like myself again. PTL!

Self-esteem aside, I have come to have a better appreciation of myself (I would say right appreciation, but I don't think it was wrong to begin with, just hidden for such a long time). I am more open now to let my inside show, and to embrace the me that has been living inside, hidden and afraid to come out every day. That fear, the fear of rejection and abandonment, has been replaced with a healthy self-esteem, a healthy sense of who I am, what skills and abilities I have, and what God-given gifts I have been blessed with and endowed. I am at a good place mentally, a place where I can accept criticism, where I can accept the truth, and even where I can revisit some old territory and get a fresh sense of vision. It is a good place, and I am so glad to have finally made it through the long dark hallway leading out from deep in my heart.

Some things I have come to know (or learn anew) about myself:
  • I am a rational person
  • I am logical and analytical
  • I love to solve puzzles and come up with solutions
  • I am highly technical, preferring technical type work to all others
  • I like to work alone
  • I enjoy other people, but also like quiet time to myself
  • I like to be in control
  • I like things to be very neat and tidy
  • I like to draw conclusions and come to settlements
  • I want things to be right, to be just, and to be honorable
  • I long for truth in all matters
  • I judge often
  • I critically evaluate and analyze things before making any decision
  • I make decisions and then I stick to them
  • I prefer decisiveness to indecisiveness
  • I am often perceived as being arrogant when in reality I am really self-confident
  • I am a pragmatist
  • I am a realist
  • I am honest about my abilities and will not do things I KNOW I cannot do
  • I will tell you the truth, even if it hurts me to do so
  • I will try very hard not to hurt your feelings, but if truth is at stake, I will choose truth
  • I prefer things to be literal, black and white
  • I like to think
  • I like to study theories and methods
  • I like to contemplate the future
  • I like to spend time thinking about problems and coming up with solutions
  • I like to live my life planned out, not happenstance, and I try very hard to keep to all my commitments
  • Lastly, I will not waste my time on anything that seems to lack value (or return on value)
In thinking about my personality type, I decided to take a profile test (actually my friend, Karen, asked me to do it--so I did!) I took the Jung Typography Test online, and was really surprised to find out that I am classified as:

Rational --> Mastermind

I am a Rational personality, with the emphasis on being a Mastermind. This type sums up me so well -- you could not have written a more close description of how I think and do things. More over, I am introverted (which I already knew). This combination means that I tend to not favor social situations, that I prefer quiet meditation, and that I choose more solitary type work.

After reading through this personality profile, and the job suggestions (careers that match it), I realized that the job I had here at home as a designer and server administrator is actually a really good fit. I have wanted to teach college for a long time, but I always imagined that I could teach, and not that I actually would do it. My friend, Martha, always used to say that "we like the IDEA of doing something, and not the actual doing of it." Truer words were never spoken because this is exactly my brain wiring. I like the idea of teaching college, but really do not want to do it. I get it now, I really get it. I can teach, for sure, but when push comes to shove, I will always prefer to let others do it instead of me. The same with being in leadership. I can be a leader, and I have been a leader (director and up) many times. I don't choose to be a leader, I don't choose to be in power -- but if need be, I will do it (that is usually what happens -- I get asked when no one else will do it). Funny how that works, but it always seems to be the case.

So here I am contemplating finding the "right" job and the one I really don't want to do is the one that fits me best. Go figure. I think the Lord waited for such a time as this to spring that little ditty on me. Yea! He does stuff like that -- waits until we are ready to accept the truth, and then voila! The truth is sitting right there in front of our noses. I love Him so much -- He is so good to me!!

As I look back over my life and reflect on what I have learned today, I came to the conclusion about a number of things. First of all, I understand now why I have never liked working from home. I have never liked being in charge of my own business. I much prefer to go to work elsewhere and do work for someone else (stemming from me not wanting to be in charge of things). Secondly, I also understand why I don't like people telling me what to do. This may sound arrogant, but I often know what needs doing, and I am usually really efficient about doing it. I don't like being micromanaged all the time, being held accountable to some false system of things, when in truth, I already have everything under control. It is a tick and pet peeve for me -- something really irksome. It is sort of: you stay out of my business, and I will stay out of yours. The problem is that often (in the past) I was employed in lower level jobs where I had someone over me who was less efficient than I was (I know arrogant, right?) It bugged the you-know-what out of me to be told to do something differently WHEN the person doing the telling had no clue about how to do the thing in the first place! LOL

Next, I have grasped the significance of what I am like, what I like doing, and what I think I am designed to do. This has been a huge hurdle, simply from the standpoint that I have been really confused about this (all of it) for such a long time. I believed erroneously that the "job" I was meant to do was in teaching college. This is the job I decided to do back when I was in college. I had left a highly skilled technical job and the last thing I wanted to do was stay in that field. To me, that was the old job -- the job before college. The new job, aka career, needed to be bigger, better, and far more satisfying. The ha-ha-ha thing of all this is that after I graduated and then went back to work, the job I ended up doing, ta-dum, was a highly skilled technical job. Rats, caught in my own mouse trap!

Yes, you see that for all my education and such, I returned to the thing I knew best: technical work. That was the job I did, it was the job I knew, and it was the job that I consistently chose. Weird, huh?

My new found understanding leads me back round to this point. As a Rational-Mastermind personality this kind of behavior is typical. We (RMs or INTJ as Jung calls them) tend to choose the work we know best. We tend to go and stick with what we know. So no matter how hard I tried to change careers, I always ended right back where I started. It is fate, it is kismet, it is destiny (according to the world); but to me it is God ordained usefulness shining through my very being. Yes, I was created to worship Him, and one of the ways I am to do that is through my practical and useful work. My issue has been with not wanting to use what I know and seek instead to try something different. Rather than rely on what I know I can do and do well, I wanted some other flavor, some other skill set that is not in keeping with my real personality. I wanted to cast off my very interests simply because they had become distasteful to me (under unpleasant circumstances). It is akin to tossing the baby out with the bath water -- you know -- rather than just changing the water (new job, new company, new people); instead, I wanted to dump the whole thing in exchange for something radically new.

LOL! Here I am laughing out loud -- actually contemplating doing a job that I once eschewed as being so unfavorable and unpalatable to me. Here I am receiving from the Lord's hand a job that is so up my alley, so meshed to my personality, and I am saying, "No thanks -- I want something different!" The Lord does indeed know me best, and I am coming round to saying now (first): "Yes, Lord...your way, always your way!" Truthfully, His way is always best!

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