To me (and a lot of other people), self care is so much more than some face masks and nail painting. I consider any time spent improving myself to be self care, especially if it helps me understand my underlying motivations and fears and how they manifest in my daily life. This little Sunday series is my way of highlighting my own efforts at improving myself. Self care is necessary for surviving this thing called life and I try to focus on it as often as I can.
Recently I’ve spent a fair amount of time focused on trying to “discover” myself. I’ve taken all of the personality tests and clicked on every post that promises a revelation about my “perfect dream job.” So far, nothing has provided me the answers I was hoping for. Of course, expecting the universe to drop the answers on my lap is not exactly the way to do it. Either way, I was feeling lost and was searching for answers high and low. Anything to help me understand myself better and find my path. The biggest act of self care I can think of is to search for these answers as best I can.
Enter the Enneagram
Honestly, I’m going to talk about the Enneagram a lot. This test has become a part of who I am and I’m that crazy girl who looks at people and thinks “oh you’re totally a 3.” In fact, M (the bf) has grown completely exhausted by me calling him a 6 all the time. But this test is the first test I’ve ever encountered that 1. feels like me and 2. provides me with a map for understanding how to interact with the world and myself. For once I understand my behavior and can adjust it accordingly. For someone who feels as lost as me, this is a complete blessing.
Tools for Self Improvement
However unlike so many other tests that just tell you all of your flaws like they’re meant to be accepted at face value, the Enneagram gives you tools to improve yourself. As a gemini this is such a relief because honestly, my zodiac sign is a huge jerk. But because of the Enneagram, I finally understand that my perfectionism when I design is a manifestation of my stress and I need to cut it out. Instead of priding myself on my insane attention to detail, I know to tone it back and not let it keep myself from completing anything (which is a big problem for me).
Identify Biggest Fears & Motivations
I’ve also discovered some of my biggest motivations and underlying fears. Supposedly I run from pain (it’s totally true) and this causes me to avoid certain conversations, topics, people, life because I just don’t want to face something. It’s hard to hear, but now that I know this about myself, I can tone back my actions and words to compensate. This information is so freeing because now I can identify my problem behaviors and stop them before I can hurt anyone (or myself).
Self Awareness is Self Care
With my knowledge of the Enneagram in my back pocket, I now view myself differently. Honestly, I have a little more grace for myself when I’m faced with conflict or confusion. Some of my behaviors are more easily identified as coping mechanisms while others are clearly toxic and need to stop. But getting to the root of these character flaws helped this become more obvious to me and for once I feel like I’m in charge of my emotions.
Identifying my Path
For so long I’ve wanted to have a blog. I love the idea of them and nearly everything about them. But I was always so scared to actually commit to one. Honestly, they’re a crazy amount of work and I don’t have a good track record with committing to that kind of work. Hello flighty Type Seven brain full of tons of ideas but no follow through. But I’m more determined than ever and now I have the Enneagram to help back me up. Sure all the hard work is going to come from me and not some personality test I took. But between my determination and the information I now have in my brain about my behavior from the Enneagram, I have no doubt I can pull myself together and get some real work done on this thing.
When the Doubts Creep In
Like everyone else in the whole world, it wasn’t long before all of the excitement and determination from the previous paragraphs faded and doubts started to inch in. Since the start of 2018 I’ve been working on this blog non stop and trying to create a website and all sorts of content that deserves to be put out into the world. Feeling like my content deserves a space in this world is one thing, but juggling all of the work that goes into creating and managing a quality blog is a whole other story. My determination kept a lot of doubts at bay. But I’ll admit I fell prey to them more often that I’d care to admit. Of course this post is a big billboard admitting to it. I’ll admit to the irony of that.
Will Avoid When Stressed
The inevitable happened and I crumbled under the stress. Now I’ll admit, blogging isn’t so crazy stressful. I’m not a heart surgeon or anything. But when you’ve piled all of your life expectations on top of this blog, things can get a little overwhelming. As I’m prone to do, I fell into a pit of avoidance so big it took me a week or so to drag myself out. This week was spent avoiding any work on my blog and instead watching seasons 9-18 of Degrassi. I watched so much Degrassi my life became a blur of high school drama and pregnancy scares. Please don’t go look up how many episodes are in one season of Degrassi. I really don’t want y’all to completely understand the volume of TV I was watching.
Gotta Dust Myself Off
But during this time, I hid from my stress. I avoided the possibility of me not being very good at blogging. It’s easy to not disappoint anyone when you’re doing nothing. Luckily Degrassi ran out of episodes for me to watch and I was left all alone with my thoughts. Thoughts I identified and acknowledged but ultimately decided to compartmentalize and work past. I can’t be scared to do anything because I’m scared of failure. Action is better than nothing and as long as I give my all, I can never fail at this blog.
I’ll admit, the time I spent watching TV was good for me. In the sense that it gave me a bit of a break from my mile long to do list. But once it was over and I knew I had to jump back into the work, I stumbled a bit. But my time is valuable and I can’t spend it in a TV binge. So I kept pushing and started crossing things off my list. Now here we are, blog launched, content scheduled and graphics designed and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s an uphill battle from here but I’d determined not to let me weaknesses get the best of me. Consistency is the name of the game and I refuse to be anything but consistent.
Want to read more about the Enneagram? It’s a favorite topic of mine.