Photo via Visual Hunt
I’ve really been enjoying writing this Simple Tips for Self Care series. It’s forced me to reflect on how well I’m taking care of myself and come up with some creative ways to do it. For today’s tip, I recommend you get to know yourself.
I’ve been doing a lot of this lately and it has made a huge difference in how I care for myself. Here are my favorite resources for getting to know myself and I hope they’ll be helpful for you.
Myers Briggs is probably the most well-known personality analysis tool. I like the one from 16Personalities because it gives a detailed (and helpful!) report at the end. For example, I’m an INFJ. It’s a rare type, so I’m prone to feeling alone and misunderstood. I’m an introvert, so I’ve stopped trying to make myself have a busy social life. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of my Myers Briggs profile have helped me to choose what parts of life are important and which things are less of a priority.
This is a new one for me. I took it at the end of December and it’s already made a big difference in how I perceive the people around me. Strengths Finder 2.0 (available as a digital test and a book) is the updated version of the original and it’s great. It’s really highlighted all the ways that people are different and focuses on maximizing your strengths and finding people with strengths that compliment your weaknesses in order to achieve your goals. ‘Intellection’ is my top strength and it’s all about thinking. It hadn’t occurred to me that other people might not spend as much time thinking as I do.
Gary Chapman’s book ‘The 5 Love Languages‘ has been popular since it came out and now has editions for children and teens as well. The idea is that there are five primary ways that we express and feel love. Conflict arises when we only express love the way we want to experience it because, chances are, the people around us don’t share a primary love language. For example, my top love language is Physical Touch. I feel most loved with hugs, shoulder rubs, and sitting close or snuggling on the couch. Caleb is the same, so we connect very easily. Keith, however, was definitely not a Physical Touch person, so he thought it was so weird that I always wanted to touch him. He was a Quality Time person, so he wanted me to sit with him while he accomplished a task even if I wasn’t helping; this drove me crazy. What I’ve learned is that people love to be loved in the ways they naturally express love.
When I wrote about my favorite podcasts and how they’re helping me take care of myself, I mentioned Happier with Gretchen Rubin. I love how passionate she is about helping people reach their potential by knowing more about themselves. She describes people as one of four tendencies and talks about how each tendency is motivated by different things.
I’m a Questioner: I will only do things if I’m motivated to and outside pressure will not help me accomplish my goals. It’s very difficult to me to complete a task if someone tells me to do it; if I’m given a mandate or a specific set of instructions on how to complete the task, I immediately want to run away.
You can take the quiz on Gretchen’s site to see if you’re a Questioner, Upholder, Obliger, or Rebel and learn more about her four tendencies.
In the Bible there’s this idea that we’re all innately gifted in different ways. If we know our gifting, we can help, serve, and love others better. There are many different spiritual gifts tests (and some controversy over which gifts are actually gifts, but this isn’t the place for that argument). I like to think of spiritual gifts as the things that make you feel really alive; when you’re doing work in the ways you’re gifted, it’s much more fulfilling. An example: my top spiritual gift is Hospitality. I love having people over for dinner or parties. I also love making my home a safe and comfortable people to feel like they can relax. Learn more about spiritual gifts and take a survey to find yours.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Since I’ve been getting to know myself again these last few months, I’ve learned one important thing: if I’m not doing what I love, I’m going to find it hard to feel rested and grounded. Don’t join a book club because you “should” join a book club. Do it because you love reading books and discussing it with other avid readers. Don’t run because it’s the way you “should” exercise. Figure out what you love and do that thing.
How does getting to know yourself help you? What has made the biggest impact on caring for yourself?
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