You (and probably everyone you know) are suffering because you don’t know the following secret to living your authentic life. The source of the frustrating variance between the life you’re currently living and the one that would be most fulfilling to you is invisible. It’s not your spouse or lack of spouse. It’s not your boss or bank account or body that’s the problem. A better car, house, phone, meal, or vacation won’t do the trick either, although advertising executives would like you to think their product is exactly what you need, so they can keep you chasing your tail.
The secret of why you are feeling like something is missing or that if you just had x, y, or z, you would be happy is that something IS missing. But it’s not outside, it’s inside. What’s missing is the true you.
Simply due to the normal way the human psyche develops from childhood into adulthood, we have no choice but to internalize a perception of ourselves that is based on our childhood reality. It is not an option. As a child you had no choice but to grow up to see and treat yourself the same way you were treated in your earliest environments. It’s a mechanism of development and happens automatically. Even if you rebelled against such treatment as a teenager. Even if you stood up for others against such treatment. Even if you promised you would never treat anyone the way your parent’s treated you. And even if you feel you had a pretty idyllic childhood and wonderful parents. The part of you governing your self-perception always has both feet in the past.
Human infant consciousness is completely impressionable. The invisible stuff of our awareness is molded by our earliest environments. Therefore, how your parents saw you and attended to the needs of your body and heart shaped how you now see yourself and attend to the needs of your body and heart as an adult.
You were also impacted by the greater environment surrounding your family including what was happening in your extended family, neighborhood, community, country, and world. Everything in the environment that held you impacted the invisible core of your perception and resulted in how you currently see yourself, your gifts, your potential, and everything in your life. It also dictates the choices you make every moment of every day – choices that you believe will make you happy.
We rarely acknowledge how little of our day-to-day functioning is truly chosen from our deepest nature. Most, if not all of those things that we spend so much time thinking about, are responded to by habit – by programming that happened before we were three years old.
Especially if we’ve been in psychotherapy we tend to think we have dealt with the past, but it takes a different kind of experiential exploration to really understand the depth of our molding. It can be genuinely shocking and painful when we finally realize how much of our adult lives are on autopilot, sourced by attempting to conform to or rebel against our internalized childhood reality. However, it not our outer parents’ influence that runs our show now, it’s the false shape of our molded consciousness that impacts everything we experience.
While the source of our current awareness and actions is invisible, our longing to experience our authentic selves is not. We can feel it whenever we choose to listen. And until we embody our true shape – take our own shape – we will have a niggling sense that something very important is missing from our lives.
The advertisers will be only too happy to tell you that their product is what’s missing and you will feel happy, fulfilled, at peace, beautiful, esteemed, and powerful once you buy it. However, you probably are becoming more and more aware that no matter how much stuff or how many people you fill your life with, the happiness is only temporary, and the search to find what’s missing is really an endless loop.
The only thing that truly satisfies is knowing and living from who you truly are. That’s why growth – as difficult, painful, and frustrating as it can be at times – feels good.
Embodying your authentic self is challenging for many reasons. You won’t find much support for it in the culture at large. You won’t hear reports about it on the news. Most of people don’t know the need even exists so are not pursuing it. You will not get any support for it at work, nor will you be rewarded for it monetarily (initially). Your network of friends was designed to support your habitual self and may not be able to support your authentic self or the daunting, counter-culture process of embodying it. However the greatest deterrent is that you have known yourself as this habitual self your whole life and it will be hardest for you to see and experience yourself differently because the false is familiar and has been home to you for so long.
Despite the hardships, we undertake this journey because, like any hero/heroine’s journey, we are called to serve our greatest purpose and to know the greatest love. Having been on this journey for over 20 years myself, I know firsthand that taking my own shape is more than worth the effort expended. The fruits are more abundant, awesome, and fulfilling than anything I could have imagined when I began. And that is why I do what I do – help others find what’s truly missing so they can stop chasing their tails and discover their true, beautiful, powerful, and most loving self.
Everything I teach has the power to help you discover and embody your authentic nature. So if you’ve read past articles or worked through Inner Secrets to Outer Success you likely have several skills already supporting your unfolding. In this article I want to share one of the most unrecognized yet useful tools in accurately seeing the barriers to your true self, the Enneagram.
The Enneagram is the oldest, spiritually based personality assessment in existence. It has the power to show you how your personality (ego) is structured in a clear, useful, and objective way.
Until we have done quite a bit of work with ourselves, our personality tends to be transparent to us – particularly the early wounds that keep it in place. Because it is the filter through which we experience everything, we are like fish unable to perceive the water we are in when it comes to seeing our personality. It is what we know as home, it is a given, it seems like the fact of who we are. It’s so intrinsic to our sense of self that initially all our attempts at self-development are to create a better version of ourselves (our personality) rather than to see through it to the truth of who we are.
However, when you’re ready and when you’ve accurately typed yourself, the Enneagram is the most powerful tool I know to give you “truth vision.” Unfortunately typing oneself is not as easy as taking an online test, although that can help point you in the right direction. An interview including results from more than one assessment is the best way to land on your core personality type. Listening to panels of people of each of the nine types is also an extremely valuable way to discern which type most feels like you at the core.
Once you have discovered your type, it is important to utilize the Enneagram without input from your superego or inner critic. Remember the superego/inner critic is the internalized voice of your parents. Its job is to keep your personality/ego in place and to make sure you stay exactly the same. This is the opposite of what you need. The purpose of exploring your type is to be able to see objectively the beliefs you developed that keep you treating yourself exactly as you were treated and are at the source of self-defeating habits. By compassionately utilizing the Enneagram, the truth is revealed by understanding how the false came to be.
I employ the Enneagram with all my students and I’m always impressed with how quickly it supports them in getting to the core of what holds them back. If you haven’t yet explored it for yourself, here are a few of resources to get you started:
If you’re brand new to the Enneagram and would benefit from my help in discerning your type and utilizing this powerful tool to Take Your Own Shape, I hope you will take advantage of my private session special below before September 10th.
Wherever you are on your journey, the Enneagram will deepen your understanding of what is false and habitual in you while it opens you more and more to what is true, powerful, beautiful, and most loving in you and life. Explore it today and see how amazing you truly are. Let us know what you discover.