Tuesday, July 07, 2015

"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

Every year or so our family spends an evening doing a personality test. We've done versions of the Color Code, Strengths Finders, Meyers-BriggsEnneagram, and others.

We have four children. They are now getting older, and the sibling tension that used to seem like a daily affair now rears its head much less frequently than it used to. But even so, the other night we spent a couple of hours taking one of the personality tests and talking about our individual results...

And the magic happened again.

In a very short period of time, we find we really are getting along and like each other again. :)

Perhaps it's because the tests are a reminder that we actually are different, and that we think and act differently. And this allows us to be a little more generous with each other, to recognize that we don't have to agree on everything, to like the same things, or to act in the same ways. We better appreciate each other.

But even more than that, I think, is the individual recognition that we don't have to measure ourselves against other people. There's a very real sense of personal relief in this process. It's like, as a family, we take one big collective deep breath. Because we have different talents and capabilities, perhaps part of what creates tension within us is the act of comparing ourselves to others, of seeing ourselves through a lens which magnifies our own faults or shortcomings. By focusing on comparisons, we miss not only the positive in each other, but the beauty of our own uniqueness. The personality-test process allows us to better appreciate ourselves.

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