Glen got up and wanted to get things done the other morning, so he was doing lots of different things, and while I appreciated what he was doing, I didn’t really love how he was doing it. Lately I’ve been trying to let my kids do things in the kitchen, but it feels like it will become more of a mess than it’s worth. I have control issues, and I don’t like being out of control.
Human beings are wired for survival. As little kids, we instinctually place a mask called personality over parts of our authentic self to protect us fro harm and make our way in the world. Made up of innate qualities, coping strategies, conditioned reflexes, and defense mechanisms, among lots of other things, our personality helps us know and do what we sense is required to please our parents, to fit in, and relate well to our friends, to satisfy the expectations of our culture and to get our basic needs met. Over time, our adaptive strategies become increasingly complex. They get triggered so predictably, so often, and so automatically, that we can’t tell where they end and our true natures begin. Ironically, the term “personality” is derived from the Greek word for mask: persona. Reflexing our tendency to refuse the mask we wear with our true selves, even long after the threshold of early childhood have past. Now, we no longer have a personality, our personality has us. Now, rather than protect our defenseless hearts against the inevitable wounds and losses of childhood, our personalities, which we and others experience as the ways we predictably think, feel, act, react, process information, and see the world, limit or imprison us.The Road Back to You
When I think about my own childhood, I don’t know if I would describe it as “surviving,” but I did observe my brothers getting in trouble and me realizing I didn’t want that kind of attention. This made me a good student, obedient child, and do the things that made my parents proud – anything that was positive attention. Even now, I want to do things that get positive attention from my family and friends.
Thinking of your personality as a mask to your authentic self is deep. I’m noticing this in my oldest, Theo, and how he adapts to the environment he’s in. I wonder how long I’ve been walking around with a mask on, and I’m facing tension between who I am, who I want to be, and who others want me to be. Am I doing things because I want to?
When Glen and I first started dating, I asked him what his five year plan was, and that conversation is what ultimately led to Beleaf in Fatherhood and all the things he gets to do. But now, he we are, and he is asking me the exact same question, and I’m not sure! I haven’t been able to answer it because so much of my life was planned out: be a teacher, a wife, and a mom. It was planned out since childhood! I set a goal, I achieved it, but now I don’t feel like I don’t have a plan. I feel out of control because I don’t know!
In The Road Back to You by Ian Cron & Suzanne Stabile, they have an analogy called SNAP.
S – Stop
Take a Breath and return to the present moment.
N – Notice
Notice and observe what you’re feeling, thinking and doing in this moment with kindness.
A – Ask
P – Pivot
A constant choice to throw aside the usual scripts that we follow.
I feel like I’m being called to face my feelings and really experience them without shoving them down. It’s taking a lot of work, but I’m looking forward to the growth that comes from this process.
This analogy allows us to interrupt what we normally do and allow us to grow and change!
Information is not transformation.
Don’t be afraid of who you are. It can be more easily said than done, but it’s important!
Suzanne Stabile’s The Enneagram Journey
Hey, hey! I'm Yvette!
I'm a thirty-four year old wife, mother of four, podcast host, and writer from San Diego, California. I'm a former math teacher turned stay-at-home parent and influencer with the unique opportunity to bring women into community with one another and encourage them in their seasons of life through my podcast, Yvette, Unplugged and my online community, Women, Unplugged.
More about me!