A respondent to a recent blog who wrote “Thank you for explaining personalities, “I am now enjoying the parts of me that I like,” spurred me to ponder if there was a part of my personality that I disliked? On reflection I ascertained that Heart-logic Feeling was the source for my being bothered at times when speaking, and bored when navigating a repetitive (Sensing) hands-on job until completed. I enjoy the wide-open spaces of Intuition and am thankful for Structure which keeps me grounded. I appreciate the built-in confidence of Extroversion and other Heart-logic contributions involving communication all which equip friends in sizing me up accurately. Then my dreaming turned to others. Maybe, suggesting re-examining the nuts and bolts of our unique personalities including how others may view us would be a helpful exercise for clients, I speculated; perhaps eventually into a blog.
As I was deep into jotting notes, I was distracted by lovely choral music coming from the television where Bob Dole’s celebration of life was just beginning. Hearing some old-time hymns sung like Shall We Gather at the River and Amazing Grace was touching. I rarely just sit and watch any program, but for over an hour I didn’t move a muscle. The verbal and musical tributes and prayers were heartwarming; the tributes were brief, honoring and inspiring. Several spoke about the Senator’s war injuries affecting him physically the rest of his life. Bob Dole was remembered for what he said, what he did, and how he served highlighted his goal of encouraging members of the Senate to work together across the aisle. Listening to his daughter, Robin, share impressions of her gifted and wonderful father was tearfully awesome as she spoke about their closeness, deep love and respect for her dad. The Chaplain’s message was very moving and his prayer insightful and encouraging. I felt spiritually fed.
Thinking about the colorful descriptions of Bob Dole, fit right in with my original ideas about how we judge ourselves and whether our friends and family regard us in the same way. What characteristics of your personality do you particularly appreciate? How might your friends describe you?
Some of you may remember the discussion about three of four positive communication decisions each of us can make. 1.Be very careful/honest/kind—impeccable--with what you say. 2. Avoid being presumptuous--putting unnecessary expectations on others. 3. Don’t take anything personally—what a person says or does reveals more about them than you. And 4. Do your best—not THE best but what you are capable of doing; not comparing yourself with someone else. Adding these communication hints to your personality is bound to nurture your behavior as you relate to others and teach them to your kids.
For those who disdain being too quiet and private or being overly outgoing and noisy, accept how God has designed you and speak up a little more or curb your over-speaking—focusing on careful listening. Avoid topping someone’s experience with a ‘better’ one. I’ve spoken with many Intuitives who do not consider themselves financial wizards-Sensing-and dislike how easily they are taken advantage. I just read about a Head-logic father who looks at his phone when his kids are talking which sends the message that he’s not interested in them. Those teens can use an ‘I’ statement to teach him better manners: “I feel like you are not listening, Dad, when you look at your phone rather than at me when I answer your questions about my day”. The kids also need to understand that for Head-logic thinkers, it’s difficult to give what you don’t need.”
After I had written the above, since it was getting dark, I decided to quickly take a package left here for neighbors Mark and Krista while their garage light was still on. “Look at the gloves I just bought at Sam’s,” Mark gleamed. “How much do you think they cost?” Well, I guessed way over the price, which pleased him. “Here’s the tool I told you about, that I bought for next to nothing”. The tool had a light on it and moved different angles. “Jim would really like this tool,” I said.
“I’ve been thinking about Jim a lot. I really miss him,” Mark said. “Whenever I’d hear any noise coming from your garage, I’d go over to see what Jim was working on. But what I remember the most is the day neighbor Harold told me he bought a new refrigerator and offered his old one for my garage. As I began to drag my dolly with the heavy refrigerator down the drive, Jim was making his way up the driveway and said, ‘Let me help you with that,’ and helped me get it down Harold’s drive and into our garage. I don’t think I could have managed it without Jim’s help. That was a couple of years ago and I didn’t know him very well then, but that didn’t matter to him.” I had never heard that story, but it certainly did describe Jim. He was always ready and eager to help anyone. Hearing stories about Jim always delight me. The kids and I can recall many times sitting in the car while Jim helped someone. He rarely asked anyone to help him. However, if I stepped into the garage to hand him a glass of tea, he would invariably say “Can you hold this light?” or “I need the wrench with a red handle.” As a result, I watched him work and learned.
I recently read that we are described by where our feet take us, where our money goes, how we treat others, what we read and what we say. As we have discussed before, telling our stories is extremely important. What happened to us when we were young as well as when we are older becomes our treasured reservoir. Every story serves a significant purpose which nurtures the speaker as well as influences the listener. One of Frederick Buechner’s daily quotes throws a bright light on who and why he has become the person he is as a result of his father suicide when he was a youngster which I have paraphrased: …but I am a very private figure indeed, living very much out of the mainstream of things in the hills of Vermont, and my life has had little impact on anybody much except for the people closest to me and the comparative few who have read books I’ve written and been one way or another touched by them…but I talk about my life anyway because if, on the one hand, hardly anything could be less important, on the other hand, hardly anything could be more important because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally. If this is true, it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but spiritually.
Jim reminded his congregation often that what has been promised to us in the scripture--wisdom, peace and His presence--we do not have to beg for, but merely thank God for providing all that he promised.
Let your morning bring me word of your unfailing love. God’s unshakable, boundless love. Ps. 143:8 He heard. Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from him. Ps 116:5-9
Understanding and appreciating our personalities--who we are--is important because we spend more time with ourselves than with anyone else. In 2022 like Buechner, decide to understand who and why you are and are not. Consider how pertinent your personal experiences are to you as well as to others.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NIV
Father, I may not fully understand what you want me to say or do, but I want to be usable and submissive. Help me to trust your good and faithful character.
Wrapping up 2021 and laying out plans for 2122 of how we want to live, maybe improvements in what we eat and promising ourselves we’ll get more sleep, listen more and not waste as much time on non-essentials, spend more time reading inspirational material, and exercising.
Be the kind of person that you admire.
Have a Joyful Christmas holiday and a Remarkable New Year.