A Deeper Look at Personality.
I’ve known Tony for quite a while. He’s going through a rough time now, divorcing for the third time. He doesn’t really understand why his marriages fail. Two reasons: (1) he doesn’t know himself deeply. That means he always reacts to people instead of actively making decisions. (2) And, he doesn’t know enough about why others behave as they do. The guy is really naïve.’
So, just as a start, I asked him to list positive qualities that he knew about himself. The list he gave me is below:
- Reasonably attractive
- Good physical Condition
- Good/dry sense of humor
- High morals and high values
- Good listener
- Compassionate and caring, sensitive
- Romantic, passionate
- Take control, leader type personality
- Conservative personally and politically
- Cares deeply about others
- What you see is what you get: genuine
I looked at this list and thought, “Well then, what’s the problem?” Something else must be going on because the Tony I know does fit the list he gave me.
So, we talk more and I learn that, unfortunately, he has some negative beliefs that are leftover from his childhood. And, these beliefs along with his naivete’ about others keep him unsure of himself in personal relationships. Typical Pleasing personality. Here are the old beliefs Tony has been carrying around.
- I’m not good enough; others don’t value me; I’m inadequate.
- Others will judge me.
- I need to feel safe emotionally before I can be me.
- I believe what others tell me about me.
So, we talk. He hears me say that these ideas are not even true, yet he’s letting them seriously undermine his personal relationships. Here’s what I mean.
- Tony, and you too reader, must believe in yourself. Believe that you are “enough.” That you are definitely more than adequate. And, that you’re entitled to the same respect you give others. Yes, you have some faults; we all do, we’re human. But, you have many good qualities, like Tony, and you can work to improve the not-so-okay ones. Become aware of who you are.
- Yes, unfortunately others may judge you. That doesn’t mean you should believe or accept their comments. Others may use judgment to build power for themselves and to keep you down. It may sound weird to you but Tony did believe many of the criticisms without checking them against his personal knowledge of himself. He accepted them without thinking through why the other person was judging, criticizing or disapproving. This quick acceptance is common to the Pleaser. The Pleasing personality is very afraid to confront anything because that might jeopardize the relationship. The person they care about might leave; that’s the worst kind of nightmare for a Pleaser.
- Tony, and you too, should build your confidence enough to be your natural, relaxed self, no matter where you are. Don’t let others intimidate you. Instead, actively make smart, informed decisions about whom you prefer to be with. Please don’t cheat yourself because of fear.
- Actually, when someone gives us information about ourselves, the first thing to do is consider how accurate it is. If it’s right and you need to make a change, do it. But, if it isn’t correct, then ask yourself what’s motivating that other person to make the remark. Don’t take whatever is said to you as totally correct, ever. Your personal strength comes from you knowing who you are.
Well, the first time I challenged Tony’s old, deeply rooted ideas, he heard me. But, he didn’t embrace the new, different thoughts right away. That’s simply not how we humans make changes. But, over time, he built enough courage to try them out. Over time, Tony’s feelings of self-worth and confidence grew, and finally, the old beliefs just fell away.
If you’re a “Tony,” make a list of your own positives and negatives. Emphasize your positives. But, understand that any negative ones keep you from doing life as successfully and happily as you might. Have the courage to confront your negatives and change what you need to. During the transition be patient with yourself and trust that your attention to you will definitely pay off in your future. Good Luck!
Big Thoughts In This Article.
- Spend serious time getting to know you. Not the surface you that you can make a quick list about and then forget it. Tony did that but we learned that he really didn’t believe his own list, he still felt that he didn’t measure up. No, I mean look deeply at the qualities that you are confident about or those you’re uncertain about. See what you find.
- Become aware of how much you bend or give up to others without realizing it. Are you a Pleaser like Tony? Do you give much more to others than you even think about giving to yourself?
- It’s time for you to (a) Respect yourself, and (b) Value yourself. Of course, I don’t mean that you should become self-centered. No, but I do mean that you should take care of yourself by valuing and respecting yourself as much as you do others. Then you’ll be more balanced and that’s always a good thing.
All the best until next time,
Thanks so much for reading. And, if you think someone else might enjoy this article, please share.
Author of the Smart Parenting booklet.
Author of the Smart Relationships book.