It can be shocking just how asleep we can be to why we do certain things. Most of us are just pretty darn unaware of how our personalities shape our decisions, our habits, our relationships, our lives.
What I mean by “personality” is sometimes also called the false self. These are the things—the defense mechanisms, the coping mechanisms—we pick up during our lives, often when we are young, to deal with all the things coming at us. For example, a person might go through a season of questioning his or her self-worth and decide he or she needs to prove it by being productive or achieving certain things. Or a person might experience a significant loss and seek to avoid grief with distraction or working too hard. There are many other possibilities, of course. These are just two examples of mechanisms we use.
Being passive, avoiding conflict, avoiding having to make decisions, seeking escape and numbing pain, throwing ourselves into work, being manipulative, being deceitful, giving into rage, seeking to use or control other people—we’ve all done stuff we aren’t proud of in the name of protecting and comforting ourselves. Things become worse, though, when one or more of these come to define too much of our lives.
Listen to “You, The Most Beautiful Puzzle,” and then come back here and check out these resources: