Know thyself!

These few words, in a way, echo a couple of an earlier posts I shared (one in my other blog) on the transformative effect of coming to know the (exact!) Myers Briggs personality type you are but I wanted to share a short, succinct post for those who haven’t, or don’t want to, explore Myers Briggs.

The point is, getting to know yourself is, in my opinon, the single most important thing you ever get to do in your life…and its often a golden key to all those other unfathomables that may be “going on”, such as persistent health issues.

So whether you feel called to explore Myers Briggs or Enneagram to deep-dive your personality foibles, or if you suspect you “may be a bit on the spectrum” (whatever that means for you), don’t just leave it hanging there…explore. We’ve never lived in an era where its been made so easy for us, there are just so many resources, from articles writen by experts and downloadable books to blogs, videos and podcasts.

Some of the most resourceful, and satisfying, hours I’ve spent in the last few weeks have been engaged with trying out some of the various podcast episodes on the topic of my particular MB/Enneagram combo and on being a neurodiverse woman, all freely-available on Spotify (links below). I was able to tune in to these highly engaging conversations, interviews, anecdotes and often highly-affirming accounts of life seen through the eyes of individuals that are extremely similar to myself (for once!) whilst doing my painting or whatever else I happened to be into that day. I’m so glad I did because I’ve come a long way, not only in my understanding of some of my traits but my feeling of having found myself…amidst others pretty-much like me, with so many pearls to share. Sometimes this is just the antidote we need after a lifetime of struggling to find like-wired people, feeling so weary of having to mask or tone down our particular traits in order to fit in with those few people we don’t want to put off by being truly ourselves, as though being such a person is a guilty secret we carry around.

Fixing this misconception can be the very start of healing through finding our version of wholeness (per the title of this blog!), leading to the point of rediscovering the sense of integrity and peace in our life that may have so far eluded us. We also learn to have more patience and self-compassion, which can start to have powerful effects as we go easier on ourselves, giving ourselves more room to cope with or integrate our traits, perhaps even ceasing to put ourselves through situations that really hurt or affect us adversely. Then, we can start to explore the real gifts of the way we are made. For instance, can we start to accept that we were made this particular way so we could look things or do things diffferently, to stretch the status quo, see the bigger picture or connect all the dots in a way others might not be able see those same patterns? In short, we need to explore who we really are, not the way others expect or would like us to be, for their own convenience or for the sake of conformity.

This includes exploring neurodiversity, or indeed any kind of diversity, in all its various forms. If you even suspect you might be, for instance, ADHD (which isn’t what we tend to think it is…and many of us can drop the “H” part to consider whether its ADD we have long struggled with) then go there, have a delve. If you happen to be a woman with suspected ADHD, and the same if you are a woman with suspected autism, then specifically find resources geared at women, offered by women…because the female version of these things can present very differently to the male type, especially in mature women who have lived with them all their lives. Also, get down to the grass roots of engaging with neurodiverse people direct, beyond all the bad press of mainstream information sources or medical opinions (which simply aren’t reliable and are often riddled with fixed stereotypes of what neurodiversity looks like).

Instead, find people who offer forwards all the positives, the gifts, the value, not just the challenges. There are some great conversations happening out there, particularly between women, for instance, about how ADD can be turned around and used as a creative tool (many highly successful individuals have it) by recognising our symptoms, our strengths and our workarounds, learning how to stand out in our unique ways, instead of trying to fit in. Knowing what makes you tick is key to every success, and to lifelong enjoyment and thriving. Knowing what uniquely challenges us, for instance are you aware many people with ADHD suffer from sensory sensitivity because we can become overstimulated through no fault of our own, is empowering, and stops us from feeling like it’s all in our heads. By the way, like autism, ADHD can very often go undiagnosed in women for YEARS, often until midlife, during a life crisis or when it becomes exacerbated by the hormone changes of perimenopause/menopause, especially if they have worked hard to do well through education or have “seemed” like a constantly busy or driven high-flyer, so don’t discount it, if you have even an inkling!

Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash

Part of the process is to allow yourself to destigmatise whatever foibles you happen to have and these kinds of resources can really help you get there. The process of depathologising neurodiversity, in all its forms, including differences in how some people process sensory data, is long-overdue in our ableist culture but the very first step is to depathologise ourselves. We are not broken and, to quote my last post, these are not flaws but features about ourselves, much the same as our distinct personality type, so the sooner we can get to know them all, the better equipped we are to unravel who we really are, what we have been through and where we are headed.

So, don’t waste another day or push it onto the backburner; dare to lift the lid on the unique way you are wired and wait to be pleasantly surprised, not to mention validated, supported and empowered. The gift of better knowing yourself is one that just keeps on giving, I can’t even begin to tell you how transformative it is proving in my life, ongoing…so why not experience it for yourself and claim back your beautiful individuality.

Top 3 podcasts I’m enjoying and some others on my list to explore more:

The Neurodivergent Woman

INFP Thrive for Enneagram 9s

Geek Psychology (Play Life better)

The HSP Podscast (for Highly Sensitive People)

Unapologetically Sensitive

Personality Hacker

ADHD for Smart Ass Women

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