I have only one topic for this week because it is a big one. It affects all of the other areas of my life. It has reduced a ton of stress in my life due to incorrect expectations and assumptions about myself and other people.
As I am studying the different Temperament Types for my Counseling License, I am finding myself relaxing. I have spent a lot of my life trying to fix things about myself that I didn’t understand, made me different, and made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Now I know that these features come standard with who I am – they are the weaknesses that are the flip side of the strengths for which I am so grateful. Now I don’t have to make these things go away – I just have to learn how to handle them in godly ways.
For example, I have always felt rejected, since a child. I saw it everywhere, and whether it was the chicken or the egg that came first, it doesn’t matter. I saw rejection everywhere, so I rejected people first with my protective “I don’t care about you either” attitude.
Until I learned that was a major part of my God-given social interaction temperament, I gave in to it. I considered what I saw in other people and how I expected them to act and feel toward me to be true and real, so acted accordingly. But what if it wasn’t true, and it was just me projecting my fears onto others? How could my life be different if I didn’t assume that everyone I meet sees something that will turn them away from me, proving I am unacceptable?
I feel like the entire part of the world that I have always avoided out of fear of rejection just opened up to me. I was the one keeping myself out of it, and now I am free to venture in and discover what (and who) is in there whenever I want (which according to my temperament won’t be a lot anyway…). Knowing how God made me gives me peace, and makes me stop wanting to compare myself as much to everyone else.
Now, I always knew I had high standards, but until I was faced with the term “impossibly high standards” for myself and others, I realized how it affected my attitude, my relationships and my emotions. I couldn’t help but judge others, even subconsciously, when they didn’t always keep their promises, or do what I expected them to do. That will always come out in your relationships, and put a barrier between people, even if you never verbalize what you think or are feeling. Interestingly enough, it also explained a lot of my anger and irritation at “life”, because life isn’t fair and never works like it should, which is completely unacceptable to my brain.
So now, when people don’t do “what I would do”, I remind myself that I can’t even do what I want to do to the level I want to do it, and that I am expecting way too much from people. This reminder allows me to cut myself and others slack, which takes away my irritated attitude and can help restore and maintain relationships. I remind myself that this, like always seeing rejection, is basically a brain glitch, and I have to make a concerted effort not to act as though it is true.
I want to encourage you to learn about your temperament types. I will be making available the test which you can take to determine how God created you to be, so you can stop trying to change things that God doesn’t want changed, and focus on the things you can change. It will change everything in your life!
Your sister in Christ,