Personality as a Substitute for Courage

March 30, 2015

Personalities wouldn’t exist if we gave ourselves permission to be authentic in every moment.

Personality tests and labeling can be helpful sometimes, so this isn’t a pitch to totally eliminate them. Instead, I’m inviting us to consider how we use them as a way to avoid fear. Let’s say I’m in a group of friends and feeling that in the moment that I want to be alone. It’s hard for me to say “I’m going to spend some time by myself” without an explanation. What if some of them interpret that as me not liking them? What if they ask why and I have no good answer? It’s easier for me to say “I’m an introvert, so I’m going to recharge on my own.”

If I justify what I want by throwing in the phrase “I’m an introvert” it’s somehow easier because we’ve created a culturally accepted belief that there are these people called introverts and they need alone time to recharge. It takes courage to not justify our actions based on the pretense of “this is who I am”. Often, personalities are just a work-around, a made up permission slip that we give ourselves so we can be who we already want to be.

Look at the personality you associate most with, especially the one that “really feels like you”. What are the character traits associated with that personality? Now consider that you may not be giving yourself permission to simply be that.

Often we waste time needing to be something, needing to define ourselves then construct a box to neatly place ourselves in. What if we aren’t a thing at all? What if we are a verb? I’ve found that when I get really curious about who I am, I am what I’m doing and the reason for what I’m doing is a mystery. When I first need to be something in order to do something I’m adding an unnecessary step.

Once we see that we are not a thing, and our actions don’t come from a personality, we can simply act on our desire in every moment, without referencing, explaining or justifying it.


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