Know Yourself Better This Year

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Make exploring your personality your top goal for 2020!

So here’s the thing, I’m kind of obsessed with self-reflection. I mean, I try not to be too self-involved but I am constantly trying to better understand myself if only to figure out why I am being so annoying. I’m an introvert who spends a lot of time in my own head, so I spend a lot of time self-reflecting and thinking about the way to respond to things in my life. I like to think Awkward Girl came out of a significant amount of self-awareness. In general, I think this examination has been super helpful in my own personal growth, but there’s more to it than just thinking about yourself. Here are some ways you can start the process of getting to know your own awkward self better. 

Start with easy to understand personality classifications. 

Most people have heard of the Myers Briggs personality types. I had to take the Myers Briggs assessment in high school and college even though I found it much more helpful the second time. This well-known typing system provides many free or low-cost test options and a wealth of online information to start to understand yourself. It can feel weird the first time you take one of these personality tests, but just answer with your first inclination and go with it. I consistently test as an INFP, which tells me I’m an “Idealist” who is quiet, a good listener, has high standards and wants to figure out meaning in my life (All of which are right on). This language gives you the ability to start to think about what motivates you and what the different parts of your personality mean when put together. After you get a handle on all this, you can use it to handle difficult situations better and interact with other personalities .

GET STARTED: Take the humanmetrics test to start your Myers Briggs journey. 

Some people swear by the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test. I’ve never taken this assessment but it makes sense that understanding your strengths could be helpful to learn what opportunities to embrace or how to work with others who may have different (but complementary) strengths.

Make Some Lists

Now, I understand that these lists will be much more appealing to certain personality types. I understand, but I can’t think of a better way to start thinking about your values, likes, and dislikes. Whether you want to creatively map all of this out, or just write some straightforward lists in your favorite notebook, the act of writing things down can help you think out how you feel about your life. 

GET STARTED: Here are some lists/ questions to think through to understand your personality and what drives you. 

  1. What are my top 5 favorite things? 
  2. What are my top 5 pet peeves?
  3. What 5-10 adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
  4. What do I value most in a relationship?
  5. What are my biggest fears? 
  6. What is your biggest regret?
  7. If you had a life motto, what would it be? 
  8. How do you deal with negative emotions/ideas?
  9. What would be a perfect day for you?
  10. What motivates you most?

Writing down an answer to these questions will probably start to highlight some things that seem defining in terms of who you are. Having all of this in your head can help you see how you align with personality classifications and can really help if you start exploring the enneagram (see the next one ;)) 

Dive in with the Enneagram

The Enneagram changed the game for me in terms of understanding myself. I cannot speak strongly enough about how much more I make sense to myself the more I explore the enneagram. Now, you might be wondering what the ennea-thingy is? 

The thing about the enneagram is it requires more mental investment than something like Myers Briggs. The experts will tell you not to take a free test for the enneagram although that’s what you’ve probably done for any other personality typing system. I’ll be honest, I took a free test to start, but I followed that up with a lot of research. To really understand your type, you’ll probably have to read some books and listen to some podcasts.

In the enneagram, there are 9 types with various subtypes. One of the experts, Ian Morgan Cron, author of The Road Back to You and host of the podcast Typology, describes the enneagram as, “an ancient personality typing system that identifies nine types of people and how they relate to one another and the world. The Enneagram is a powerful tool for understanding why we behave the way we do, and how our personalities are powerfully influenced by our motivations. It provides a framework for how we can begin to live into our most authentic selves, and also reveals the wisdom each personality type can offer to others.”

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Discovering your Enneagram number takes some listening, both to other people’s stories and to your own. You see, each number on the Enneagram tells a different story. And to find your number, you must listen to the stories of the different numbers until you find one that sounds like your own. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It is normal to relate to all nine of the types, so finding your Enneagram number can be tricky. But out of all the nine types, there is one which will strike a deep chord within you – perhaps a painful chord. There is one which will make you pause and say “the story that this number tells…it sounds like my story!” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There are many tests and quizzes for the Enneagram, but they are rarely accurate. Because tests and quizzes speak to behavior and traits, but your Enneagram number is actually determined more by your deep motivations, the core wounds that have shaped you, and the way in which you see and process the world around you. That’s why listening and reading to the stories of each Enneagram number is the best way to determine which number most describes you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The 9 types are commonly known by the following names: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1: The Perfectionist 2: The Helper 3: The Achiever 4: The Romantic 5: The Investigator 6: The Loyalist 7: The Enthusiast 8: The Challenger 9: The Peacemaker ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Any idea which number you are? Where are you in the process of discovery? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We have type descriptions on our website page “Find Your Type” (link in profile). Also, once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few different numbers, you can search our posts to read through the comments of others and listen for the ones that resonate most with you. Hot tip: you can find our posts on any specific type by searching for the hashtags #xoenneagramfours, #xoenneagramnines, etc.

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The thing that the enneagram has helped me with the most is understanding what motivates me, what healthy and unhealthy tendencies I have and how to grow towards health. It can feel really intimidating to learn about at first, but the first time you read something and think “That is so me… how did you know?” it’s so validating and helpful. 

Read and Write About It

Once you start exploring any of these ways to think about your personality, you’ll grow most by doing more reflection. Start journaling about your motivations and the way you react to things and what you identify with and don’t identify with about anything you’ve learned so far. 

If you really want to get into the enneagram but you’re too overwhelmed to start, there are some great courses you can pay for. I’ve heard great things about Ian Morgan Cron’s, “The Enneagram Made Simple” and Suzanne Stabile has a well-respected curriculum if you have a group wanting to learn. Both these enneagram experts also have books and podcasts and I’ve found that to be a great way to learn. 

I’ve also found a lot of great Instagram accounts that talk about the enneagram. Some of them are SUPER educational focused and some are more on the entertainment side, but the comments can be super helpful in learning about other people who have the same type as you. 

GET STARTED: Check out these Instagram accounts!

Know Yourself Better This Year

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Free Time (or general) Productivity

That’s kinda a pretentious title. I apologize.  Let me explain.

I’m not the kind of person who entertains a lot of free time. Free time makes me really anxious. I like to do lots of things, and at school, I fill up my schedule. Even if it’s not all “work,” I keep myself busy. Then, this big old summer thing came along. I just found out that I got an internship, but it doesn’t start til the middle of June. Even then, I’m not full time until JULY 22. So, I’ve been faced with a lot more unstructured time than usual and it’s kinda freaking me out.

I’ve been doing a lot of DIY crafts (including a super awesome book purse that I’ll probably post pictures of soon) and reading, but I keep getting this nagging feeling like I should be working. Though relaxation is valuable, I  don’t want to do nothing. So, I’ve come up with a plan to keep myself from going insane and hopefully induce mad productivity (one can hope). It looks a little bit like this:

1. FIGURE OUT SOME LONG TERM GOALS– By the end of the summer I’d like to: what? I’d like to have finished this novel I started ages ago. I’d like to be blogging several times a week. I’d like to have a healthy eating/ exercising routine that I can carry into the school year. You get what I mean. The long term goals can be even more general. What have you always wanted to do if you had more time? What have you been putting off? They don’t all have to be attainable goals at first either. Brainstorm a lot of goals. You never know when something might become attainable even though it didn’t seem like it a first.

I figure this is one of my last chances to have real “free” time for a while, and so I better put it to use. This works on smaller scale free time too, however. Last summer, I started out just working two days a week. Even when I got to the point where I only had one day a week off, I still used a similar strategy.

2. SCHEDULE YOUR DAYS– This might sound a little obsessive. I don’t think you need to have an hourly schedule (although if that works for you, go for it). Just start adding some consistency to your days. This is hard for me without school or work influencing my life, especially. Set a bed time and a awake time even if they are a little lax. Then set daily goals and think about when you will achieve them. For example, I’ve started getting up and doing a specific exercise routine. Then I shower and eat lunch. Then I work on my project for the day. It’s a pretty  chill schedule, but it is increasingly including goals.

3. STAY ACCOUNTABLE– Find someone who will call you out if you start being a lazy jerk (or just stop fulfilling your goals). Obviously free time has slip ups where you end up doing something worthless for way too long, but that just can’t be the norm. Tell a friend to bother you about your writing goal. Keep track of your eating/exercising habits somewhere relatively public. Post on social media about your goal. Do something so that you don’t give up on day two. This is a very important step for me. I think I’m going to keep a word count calendar on my fridge so my mom can bother me about it. I’ve already started telling my friends about my achievements, not to brag, but so I have someone to ask, “Hey have you worked on that lately?”

Though I like to mix it up every once in awhile, it’s important to finish things. Crossing things off of your long term goal list. Be proud of your accomplishments. All of these things help the whole motivation thing when there are no real deadlines breathing down your neck. I really miss deadlines.

4. PRIORITIZE– Sometimes your schedule’s going to go out the window completely. Don’t fret. Sometimes important things come up. Sometimes you have to go to the dentist (yuck) or clean your room. These things aren’t probably on your long term goal list, but they are pretty important. That’s ok.  STAY CALM.  If you spend a free day worrying about your future, stop it, take a step back, and work on goals. If your goals seem to big, break them up into smaller ones. If you miss your word count and eat crap all day and stop exercising for a whole week, its ok. You can jump back on the wagon. Deep breaths. The end is not nigh. You are not a failure. It is free time after all.

Maybe, unlike me, you don’t freak out when you have free time. Maybe you’re cool with wide expanses and nothing to do. Congratulations. Ignore my list. Maybe you never have free time and therefore thing my list is trivial and a result of my own laziness. I assure you that this is not true. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is the same set of steps I go through when I’m unbearably and impossibly busy and stressed. It’s just a modification of the same steps. So there. That’s how I try to be productive in my own awkward way. Feel free to share your own tips in comments!

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Free Time (or general) Productivity