Updated: Apr 21, 2021
In Part 2 of this series of blogs I wrote of an important realization we need to acknowledge about events that challenge our resilience. The realization is that our emotions and behaviors are triggered not by events themselves but by how we interpret those events. This was the “realization” that I wanted you to not only accept as true but to take up as a challenge for yourself to evaluate your thinking about events you see as adversities. It will give a perspective to question your automatic conclusions.
In this blog, I am bringing up what I call the “foundation” of resilience. The foundation is this: You need to know the kind of person you are; not just the one you think you are. Self-knowledge is foundational to building stamina and resilience. This goes right back to the “realization” statement. Our thinking, feeling and acting patterns are what determines our interpretation of events and therefore, how they will impact us for good or for bad.
True self-knowledge will help you to understand “why” you do what you do when certain things happen. If you know, really know the kind of person you are, then you will be able to address your issues of thinking, feeling and doing when they arise.
If you don’t know yourself or you haven’t dug deeply into your personality and also into the essence of your soul, you will be continually blindsided by yourself (or false-self) at times when you need to be thinking clearly, feeling accurately and doing rightly. This is the continual problem caused by a lack of self-knowledge.
You may be wondering at this point, “What can I do to know the kind of person I really am instead of the person I think I am?” It's a good question to ask. John Calvin, the famous (and infamous to some) reformation theologian wrote in the introduction to his “Institutes of Christian Religion” a statement on the importance of self-knowledge. He wrote, “Nearly all the wisdom which we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” What he states goes back and forth between God and us. Without an accurate understanding of God, we cannot have an accurate understanding of ourselves and in a different way, without an accurate understanding of ourselves, we will not have an accurate understanding of God.
One of the best tools to help us understand why we do what we do is the Enneagram. The Enneagram is an archetypal model of nine types that has been used for personal development from an open systems perspective. What makes the Enneagram remarkably different is that it provides deeper insight into core motivation, fears that drive our behaviors, news and interactions with others.
We tell ourselves stories of how the world is and how we must be, but these stories are not the whole truth. They are partly true, but not wholly true. These stories we tell ourselves reflect the limiting beliefs we have adopted and in a sense, they create a cage for us to live in, instead of us embracing the full richness of our humanity God created us to live in. As we become more aware of our limiting beliefs, we gain perspective and transform into a less limited, more authentic way of being with those we love and in the world around us.
Of course, moving from not knowing your limiting beliefs, fixations, vices, triggers, blind spots and defense mechanisms does not give you the power to change them. That would be found in cooperating with the work of God’s Holy Spirit in you. But it is still work you have to do.
In summation, the “foundation” of resilience is about knowing you, managing you and being in relationship with others and knowing yourself well. If you’d like to explore how the Enneagram can do this, I have an Enneagram Questionnaire and a two coaching session package that not only explores all those areas that I mentioned, but gives a map to integrate your personality and life together. Check it out here.