Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Type 4 Dilemma

Sometimes I need to remind myself of how far I've come.

Unfortunately, my mind naturally focuses on the fact that I'm not quite where I want to be yet, which can be good if it inspires me to action, but too often it discourages me and paralyzes me from taking any steps forward.  I think it is so hard for me because I don't fully understand the concept of grace.  I often demand perfection from myself (and from others around me) and so when I experience setbacks, or focus on what I think are my weaknesses, I give up.  But giving up doesn't get me to where I want to be either.  So rather than berating myself, I've chosen to focus a bit more on grace, that grace that can be so difficult for me to give and receive.

I know I'm not nearly the wife I want to be to Sam.  I wish I could be more patient and understanding, and I wish I was better at communicating.  But I'll bet if you asked him, he'd say I'm much more pleasant to be around than when we first married.  (Well, I hope he'd say that.)  I'm not in as good of shape as I want to be, either.  However, if I look at pictures taken circa 2003-2007 and remember those days when I was stuck in an ugly cycle of an eating disorder, I remember that I would have given anything to be in the shape I'm in now, and as healthy as I am now.  That 2003 self would call my current self crazy for being so unsatisfied.

I've mentioned the Enneagram before, and that I'm a Type 4, which I hate to admit but is decidedly true.  I read a book on the Enneagram and how to be a "healthier" version of a Type 4, and one thing I need to daily remind myself of is that I must let go of all unrealistic expectations of myself and others.  To be honest, I don't think it's the expectations that get me into trouble; rather, it is how often I focus on the fact that I haven't achieved these expectations.  I tend to set lofty goals for myself with highly unrealistic time lines.  I want to be a good cook?  I need to accept that it may take some time.  I want to have well-defined arms?  I shouldn't expect a week of pushups to deliver those muscles.  I want to be a great wife and communicator?  One silly argument will not undo months of work I've put into being a more caring, understanding, supportive wife.  Though progress may be slow, I'm still taking those baby steps toward being the type of person I want to be.

I just needed to remind myself to stop focusing on where I'm not, and to instead focus on how far I have come.  That inspires me to try harder and keep making good choices, and increases my chances of actually getting to where I want to be.

And speaking of being a Type 4, if you google it, you'll learn that Type 4s are often trying to create a sense of individuality, and to find their "true self".  Perhaps that explains why I constantly change my hair color and get tattoos?

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