This transformation stuff is [ ____________]!
Yeah, I had a week like that too, Dear One.
Do you ever feel like just when you've had a major breakthrough, ascended to a higher level on your mountain, the Universe always sends you a major curve ball that threatens to upset your hard-earned sense of achievement??? Please say this isn't just me!
Last week I was confronting one of my bigger ego constructs, my obsession with image, by delving deeper into my practice of radical authenticity. For me that meant sharing my truth about what my greatest hopes and desires were for my career with some major stakeholders:
1) My partner
2) My colleagues
3) My existing clients
It was all going smoothly until just one person, one person out of the entire group, told me they did not like it. They did not like it at all. WHAM, just like that I found myself on the verge of playing out a familiar 'shame and blame' battle that I have fought with countless family members, romantic partners, team members, and whatever other low-hanging victim that is foolish enough to find themselves on my shame war path.
I was just about to suit up in my trusty armor - reframing, self-loathing, anger, numbing - when [unfortunately] fortunately I remembered what the Enneagram has to teach us about the process of disintegration and reintegration during troubling times. I have included my journal notes below:
The Path of Disintegration:
Resentment at the speaker for hurting my feelings
Flattering my version of the events as the only truth
Vanity by convincing myself that this had nothing to do with me or my actions/feelings
Slide into melancholy, inflating my emotional response
Move toward stinginess with my love and emotions as a means to protect myself, detaching from person emotionally
Cowardice to show myself around this person, or to speak up about my feelings
Planning ways to deal with this person moving forward, decisions based on affirmation of my version of events
Vengeance towards person in terms of emotional stone-walling or judgement
Indolence through assuming a moral high horse, avoiding person and feelings all together
The Path of Integration:
Serenity as I work to accept what is - Lindsey, your shame trigger has gone off because you felt rejected just at the moment that you chose to bare your true self.
Humility as I accept that my feelings are no more or less important than their feelings - Lindsey, just because you chose to show your 'true' self doesn't mean that everyone is going to like or accept it.
Truthfulness as I accept my true self - Lindsey your shame trigger went off because your ego fixation is on doing and achieving to receive love. You want everyone to like and accept you because you are still working on liking and accepting yourself.
Equanimity as I accept my positives and negatives equally - Darling, you still have work to do... I'm proud of you for returning to this practice.
Transparency/Participation as I challenge myself to not retreat from the world or this person - Lindsey, do not hold this against this person and try to avoid them. Do not look to retreat from sharing your true self with more people.
Courage as I see the negativity I have created - Lindsey, someone not liking your work is not the same as them not liking you. You and your work are two separate entities. You most likely made up this entire drama in your own head/heart.
Sobriety as I develop a more meaningful experience of myself - Lindsey, it's going to be okay. You are going to be okay.
Innocence as subtle emotions are allowed to emerge - Wow, Lindsey! You still have a lot of fear around how your work is received and self-love and acceptance. There is still more practice to attend to.
Action as I once again free myself to pursue my greatest goals and desires - Transform
Now to some, this may seem like the ramblings of a crazy person. Hahahaha, ah well. But for those of you who are serious about the work of Transformation, hopefully what you see is the mindfulness practice that I am inviting you to develop.
Using the teachings of the Enneagram I have learned to take myself from shame, self-loathing, anger and resentment, to self-acceptance, acceptance of others, peace and love. And I did it by first developing a deeper understanding of my triggers, unique pain points, and ego-fixations. By delving deep into these aspects of myself I have learned how to break out of my self made box, and in doing so manifest transformation in all areas of my life.
So let's not waste another second! Let us return to the Enneagram so that we can learn more about Type 2: The Helper.
Lindsey's Simple Guide To The Enneagram
(A practical guide to getting out of boxes.)
Introduction to Type 2: The Helper
"Good character consists of recognizing the selfishness that inheres in each of us and trying to balance it against the altruism to which we should all aspire. It is a difficult balance to strike, but no definition of goodness can be complete without it."
- Alan Dershowitz
Early on in life the Little Helper learned that the way to get their needs met - love, attention, presence - was to help. The forgotten message of the Little Helper is that it is okay to have their own needs.
If you are a Helper, or know a Helper, you may notice that their attention goes toward ways to help. But this 'helping' can often come at the expense of meeting their own needs or desires.
"I'm so good at helping others. I don't have any needs of my own."
A Helper's desire to be loved can deteriorate into a desire to be needed, sometimes inadvertently pushing their help on others. When family or friends do not return their help in the same way, a Helper is left feeling angry or rejected.
"Why didn't they sense my needs and meet them like I always do for them?"
Like the quote above by, Alan Dershowitz, it is important for Helpers to recognize how 'helping' can be a selfish means of masking feelings of unworthiness. The wake up call for the Helper is learning to accept that what makes them worthy and lovable is within them, not their helping.
So how does this get in the way of Transformation?
1) I am always paying attention to other's needs but not my own
2) I am not even sure who I am or what I want
3) I am often left feeling angry or resentful of others for not meeting my needs
4) I focus on aligning myself with influential people who make me feel valuable and needed
5) I sometimes use health issues or illness to get the attention, or rest, I crave
6) I often give my value - time, money, energy, love - away to others and only realize it when it is too late
7) I have trouble setting healthy boundaries
8) I get upset when people reject or refuse my advice
9) I can be prideful and hold grudges
It's can be challenging to stay on your path toward Transformation if you do not first learn to value yourself as equally as important as every other aspect of the Universe.
You are no more, or less, important than any other aspect of the Universe! You deserve to pursue your greatest hopes and desires just like the rest of us.
If you never help another person a day in your life I want you to know this:
You are worthy, Dear One.
You are wanted, Dear One.
Do you hear me?
You are worthy.
You are wanted.
Stop giving your value away to me, or anyone else. I can never give you as much as you have given me, and I never asked you to give up yourself for me. You CHOSE to do that.
So now choose to figure out who you are, what you want, and what your greatest hopes and desires are, and then write me and tell me about it here,
Next week, Type 3: The Achiever
Lindsey T. H. Jackson xoxo
Lindsey T H Jackson is a Life Coach, Spiritual Guide, and Storyteller. Contact her at www.lindseythjackson.com for inspiration, list of services and bookings.