In my opinion, the answer to coping with life is living according to your own rules. But I think you need to know who you are first!
Yes…okay…know myself…sounds great – easier said than done, Julie. I know… It took my brother’s death to find out who I was and what I was supposed to do with my life. It has been almost 15 years and I’m still learning. But that is the point of life…and Journey With Julie is a place where we can try and find the answer, together.
So where to begin…After my brother died, my life was a hurricane, which didn’t really become clear until I went back to school to do do my Masters in Educational Psychology. It was in that program that I started my healing … After all, I had to be grounded in who I was so that I would help, not hurt, others.
One of the first things I learned about was the Myers-Briggs Personality Types. I took a test to determine my personality and you can too using the same Personality Quiz.Try to use your gut reaction to the questions and after you are done, write down the 4 letters and their percentages. Then you can head over to another website that provides a great explanation of your personality, job, and love matches Personality Explained.
I have taken the tests many times since then and what stays the same is that I am an NF… I have a strong intuition (N) and use my feelings (F) to navigate my world more than I do my senses (S) and rational thought (T). (Introversion/Extroversion and Perceiving/Judging is a whole other post!) This (NF) information was important to me – to validate who I was as a person. All throughout my life, I have had a sense of things happening before they actually occurred. As Caroline Myss indicated in her book, Anatomy of the Spirit, we all have an intuition – or a gut feeling – as it is our survival instinct as animals. Yet what she pointed out was that having confidence in ourselves enables us to follow that instinct. Isn’t it amazing to know that inside all of us, we have a map that can direct us where to go in our lives?! To me, what I have come to understand is that if I ground myself enough to be present in my daily life, I will know where to go…I just need to listen. But that takes confidence. So how do you gain self confidence? Other than having a secure attachment, I think knowing your personality is a good start!
Other than learning that I had a good intuition (which came in handy since I was basically guiding myself), the other major a-ha moment was validating that I was a feeler – not sensitive or weak! What I know now is that being intuitive and a feeler means that I am in-tune – with people and my environment. Whoah! Am I ever a feeler! When I was younger, I was in tune with my family and our home. But it was total chaos – 7 kids, anxious mom, angry dad. To me, being an NF meant that life was in stereo at a volume of 10/10. It was a lot to take in. Then as an adolescent, you add in raging hormones and all that comes with that, and my dad’s bankruptcy. Life got much louder and that’s when I started to outwardly show signs of my internal struggle.
When I look back, I was tough! Yes…said sarcastically. Being an NF in such a crazy space meant I needed to protect myself. If I was soft on the inside, then that meant I needed to be tough on the outside …. or I wouldn’t make it. So as an adolescent I dressed in my brothers’ hand-me-down clothes, wore dark makeup, black boots, lots of rings, and accessorized with an attitude. What is amazing to me now, after having worked with teens, children, and adults, is that people’s outward behaviour is a reflection of their inner thoughts and feelings. I don’t see someone’s behaviour and label them as bad, as I had been labelled, I see their story. Everyone has a story. I wish that one of the adults in my life at that time, saw my inner core of goodness; but alas, people are starring in their own story – not mine!
I was listening to a Super Soul Sunday podcast with Glennon Doyle Melton and she affirmed this belief. The so-called, “black sheep” in the family are not the “bad ones”. They are the ones that are the most in-tune with what is happening in the family – the thermostat. I was reacting to what was happening at home. I would even go further to say that the same could be said for reading a workplace.
So I was the thermostat but I didn’t know how to regulate the noise growing up as a child, adolescent and even as a young adult. Back then, not only did I drown out with noise with my clothing and attitude, but I enlisted the help of sports like rugby, relationships with men, changing my living accommodations, smoking, and drinking. I like to explain how we regulate with the idea of the technology that Jaguar has installed in their cars. Inside of the car they emit a frequency, equal but opposite to the frequency generated by the friction of the tires against the road outside of the car. The result…a peaceful and quiet ride. I believe our bodies need peace and quiet to notice danger in our environment, like an animal who stops, and perks up their ears to listen – and then follows their instinct to protect themselves. I just created equal but opposite unhealthy noise to find my peace so I could listen to my intuition.
As a young adult, I suppose I found a rhythm that worked for coping with life – it wasn’t healthy – but it was functional. When my brother died, being the NF, it hurt me the most out of all the members of my family. The methods I used to cope with life as a 24 year- old, were not enough to handle the suicide of my brother…so I ran…to the Middle East…to North Carolina…into a marriage…a separation…a sexual assault….My life was out of control…My panicked state just making matters worse – like spinning your wheels when your car is stuck in the snow….panicked….you just get more stuck! But you know…sometimes we have to reach rock bottom to start getting better. Slowly, I inched my way back …
Today, understanding that I am an an intuitive – feelor, I know that it’s important to validate my own feelings, give myself permission to set boundaries, communicate how I feel, ask for what I need, and regulate myself – knowing what works for me. I am more in-tune with myself now than ever before – so when I am starting to boil, I am able to cool down. Being grounded, I am better able to navigate myself, people around me, and my world in a more authentic, healthy, peaceful way.
Take good care of you!