I've talked about personalities before. This is our 2nd 'lighter' post (which actually isn't super light, turns out, ha...but, it's lighter). The topics to talk about just keep piling up, lol. This past weekend...just wow. So much to say about it. Counseling?...yes, there will be at least one blog post about counseling in general. I want to talk about it now. But, I will refrain.
For now...this post. About Joel. About me. About who we are. Please don't think this post vain of us. Because truly, 1) I think it will help to understand our story better...how we look at things, how we've responded to things, how things went wrong, how things kept going wrong, etc., and 2) to encourage you to get to know yourself and your spouse (or other family members...children, siblings, etc.; and others) better. When you understand why a person acts the way they do (to a certain extent...there's also sin of course, but you know...) according to the giftings they have (or those being out of balance), you see things differently.
Since last September, since we came back together, we have done a couple of different strengths/personality tests and research. We actually did the famous Myers Briggs Test with counselors #4 and #5. I've done that test 2-3 times in my life...and I still don't like it, lol, for many reasons that I will not go into here. But, in general, whatever the results are at the time just never line up with actually who I am, even though I'm answering the asinine questions honestly. Ha. The bottom line is that I think we both prefer something a bit more simple and straightforward.
So, after we came back together, I had been introduced to what I mentioned a little in Part 17...so we both started looking into that more. Also, counselors #6 and #7 (our friends that aren't actually counselors, but they actually helped us the most) got us each a book that is really good...really to the point and gets at what strengths God designed in you...how He hard-wired you basically, and how those strengths listed rank in your life.
We'll go more in-depth into what I mentioned in Part 17 first. And then we'll talk about the strengths book.
I don't remember how I was introduced to this information, but I decided to check it out for some reason...and since then I've spent a lot of time researching it. We just got the book actually...before this, we've only been watching videos and reading about it online. The lady who came up with this 'program' has a really great blog that has TONS of information and resources on it. She has a company called Live Your Truth. They state as their main goal that they want to help everyone embrace their true gifts, and by doing so, be able to live their best life.
I want to tell you this upfront...some of the things she says and alludes to can sound almost 'new-agey.' Almost. Some of you freak a little more than I do about such things. I mean, God did create 'energy' after all, did He not? So, I don't take the terms she uses as new-agey...but rather I look to see what words we would use in Christianese for the same things. Haha. Because truly...sometimes it all comes down to semantics. And I'm not going to miss out on something that is really helpful just because of a few terms that are sometimes associated with certain things that are not what I believe in. Just wanted to throw out that little disclaimer here. This lady and her family are all Mormon, by the way.
So, a basic synopsis of her system, which she calls the Energy Profiling System, is that she says that everyone falls into 1 of 4 categories...Type 1, 2, 3, or 4. Obviously, we all have some of each, but we all have one that we lead with. And some of us really use our secondary type a lot too.
I am Type 4 with a secondary Type 2. In Part 17 I said that we believed Joel to be a Type 1, also with a secondary Type 2. Since I posted that, we did get the book, It's Just My Nature! by Carol Tuttle, and have both read up on it more. And Joel is actually a Type 2 with a secondary Type 1.
What on earth does that mean, you say? Well, I'm just going to go through some of the things about each of those types that apply to us really quickly (most information and descriptions taken from the book)...and not just that apply to us, but that reveal some things about us that specifically relate to our story the past 3 years.
Joel's Type 2 - Type 2 is a very medium to medium-low movement (in other words, slow steady movements as opposed to staccato type movements of a Type 1 or Type 3, which are high movement types...'high movement' often thought of as more on the 'quicker'/'hyper' side of things). Joel is calming, subdued, sensitive. He is subtle, steady, easy-going, relaxed. Comfort is a priority in every area of his life. Of course that includes his clothes, shoes, furniture, etc., but also includes 'acting appropriately' so as not to cause discomfort for others (and with this comes the challenge of being a 'people pleaser').
Type 2 people are the people who best take an idea and gather the details in order to make something happen. They ask the question, "What do we need to know and do to make the idea possible?" For instance, in remodeling the house that we are living in now, it was a real duo effort. There were things that needed to be done that I had no clue about (plumbing, etc.)...and Joel would gather the know-how in order to make whatever idea he had happen. The more non-functional things were a joint effort, but practically speaking, more up to me (the decor, etc.). I would come up with the practical specific idea of how to make that space better...how to perfect it (very Type 4 of me)...and Joel would make it happen. He would ask questions and gather details and formulate a plan for making the idea a reality...which is a very Type 2 gift (not that other types don't have to do this in their lives...but, Type 2s are just naturally more gifted at it). His sensitivity to the details in everything he did or created for the house...a remarkable Type 2 gift. Presentation is important. This shows up in little things too. For instance, when he makes a meal...even it's just a light meal of cut up vegetables with peanut butter...he makes it into a presentation on the kids' plates. Every time. (I just throw it on there, lol).
They are seen as the saints of the world. When misunderstood, or when they are acting out of balance, they can also be seen as the doormats. They are often the connectors...the 'peacemakers' if you will. They move through life like a deep, steady river...deliberate and methodical in their approach to life.
The same natural tendencies that are huge gifts in your life can also be challenges in your life if your dominant type takes over and isn't balanced out by the other 3 types. Makes sense, right? We've already discussed one a couple of paragraphs up within parentheses, which is actually a pretty big tendency for Joel. Pleasing people is a good and nice thing, but can turn into a bad thing...for instance in our particular case, as we've already discussed elsewhere, when Joel put others' expectations of him/us first over his wife's needs. For the most part, Joel is a very balanced person. But, everyone has the potential of becoming unbalanced and their gifts actually becoming downfalls.
Because of his sensitivity, he often takes the blame when it is not himself to blame...when actually the people who are getting upset about something are the ones to blame. And since we are 'one,' I am often also to blame when others get upset at us for whatever reason (even though in my Type 4-ness, I know very well that I/we are not to blame).
While his gift of being easy-going and going with the flow is a great thing, it can also take on the from of being wishy-washy when not in balance. That is just the nature of Type 2. And by simply being aware of these things, it is more easily kept in check.
Because it is not in the Type 2 nature to just 'say it how it is'...oftentimes they don't comprehend how others can either. Therefore, they can tend to assume things...about others, about what others say, about situations. Knowing this tendency, Type 2 people can consciously manage this and avoid unnecessary conflict by being more open and sharing the assumptions, or even trying to avoid making assumptions at all.
You can see how all of the above challenges that present themselves when a Type 2 isn't in balance...or when a Type 2 is being pressured by others to think a certain way or do certain things (because they want to accommodate others and make others comfortable, first and foremost), were contributors to the downfall of our marriage. And unfortunately, he wasn't seeing me as part of the 'others'...because we are one after all. I was just an extension of himself...and I wasn't acting the way he thought I should act in order to accommodate others and make them comfortable.
In general, for the first decade of our marriage, Joel moved in more of a balance, so it was all good. Type 2s are amazing people and really great people to be married to...when they are in balance.
There are things about our dominant types that, of course, just don't line up with us at all. Not many, but some. For instance, normally change does not come easy for Type 2s at all. That is not the case for Joel. With the gift of being easy-going coupled with his life experience, change is not a problem for him at all. He also isn't super connected to the past and is not sentimental at all.
Type 2s are the type that, out of the 4 types, is the 'worrier.' Joel is not a worrier, unless the subject is the comfort of others (not me...but others others, ha). But, anything else...no worry. Some of these things that don't line up with your typical Type 2s are because of his secondary type...
Joel's Type 1 - Type 1s aren't deeply attached to their ideas and can easily adapt. Type 1s are also all about fun. While Joel is very methodical, he also tends to use fun in many ways, good (mostly) and bad...even when distracting himself from tackling something more serious that needs to be dealt with. :) He also likes to brainstorm and just shoot ideas out like they're coming out of a machine gun. Haha. He lands on one of course...and is very methodical about how to make that one idea a reality. But, I remember when we were first married and he'd just start letting the ideas fly. He'd say one thing and I'd be making plans in my head as to how that could happen...in a matter of a couple of minutes, I would have made drastic changes in our lives in my head (very Type 4...being able to see the big picture)...I was already there, to his idea being a reality. Also by the end of that same 2 minutes, Joel would have made his way to the next idea. I would scrap the plan in my head and make a new plan...only to, 2 minutes later, be presented with another idea. Hahaha. I quickly learned to just wait until he had settled on one idea. But...when he does that, his shooting of ideas, that is his Type 1-ness coming out. There's nothing wrong with that...but I just had to become aware of that being how he processes things sometimes.
So, you can see how we all have a mixture of all the types...how one is more dominant...and how another might definitely be seen as an obvious secondary type in your life.
Michawn's Type 4 - Oh, Type 4. Carol Tuttle, the author, says over and over that Type 4 is the most misunderstood and can be the most misjudged and unappreciated type. How fun for me!, right? :) I can definitely vouch for that, what Tuttle says, especially these past few years...but, that's definitely been true my whole life.
Type 4 is a constant, still movement...they actually have the lowest of natural inner movement (in other words, they are usually the most still people...with slower movements...even less movement than the Type 2s). Type 4s are reflective, concise, and clear. They mirror exactness and balance back to others. Type 4s are bold, authoritative, polished, striking, structured, clean, clear, simple, exact, and grounding. The Type 4 natural gift is to perfect and we are the ones saying, "Here's how we can make it better."
Because of the Type 4 stillness, we can be compared to a still lake, reflecting perfection back to the world, as the book says. It's funny, because I distinctly remember my college roommates saying precisely, 'You're like a still lake, Michawn.' They were specifically, at the time, referencing my steadiness as far as emotions and how I was always constant, the same. I wasn't trying to be any certain way...that was just who I was. They noticed that...and appreciated it. I had great roommates.
As I said, it tends to be the most misunderstood (and because of that, I actually go into it a little more here). That is because it is often perceived as authoritative, critical, and more serious. People who know me in real life, and especially apart from this blog series (because this blog series, by nature of the material, is pretty serious stuff), would probably never use 'quite serious' as a descriptor of me. I tend to not take things seriously. I'm pretty easy-going and chill. I am lighthearted and have lots of fun. Mostly what I do when with others is laugh and cut up. But...
It's true that I am quick to notice something that is not right. Something that needs to be better...especially when it's something that truly matters. I could care less about most things...since I do have the gift of adaptability (we'll talk more about that later). But, when it is important (for instance, many things about the past 3 years), I will stand firm, I will be bold about it, and I will not back down.
Some people don't like that. Some people get offended. In the end, I don't care. What's right is right...and it has to be stood up for. The counseling session I asked you to pray for this past weekend?...a very, very clear instance of me living this out. Whew, it was brutal...but we'll talk about counseling specifically, and all that I've come to believe about it, in the future.
One thing that can be offensive is that Type 4s don't typically look to outside sources to help them understand themselves better. They are deeply reflective, and know who they are. Again...that is really offensive to some. Others have basically said to me over these years, "How dare you think you know yourself better and hold to that instead of following what I think and say about you?" See how completely ludicrous that is? Yet...that is what has been voiced and acted out. If I was a different type maybe and I wasn't reflective at all and I didn't actually know about myself, then maybe that point would be more valid. And even well-received. I don't know. But, it's lost on me and my Type 4-ness. And if they knew me at all, they would know that what I know, as a result of all that I've reflected on, is trustworthy...that I am trustworthy and will always be honest (even if what I know as a result of my reflection is that I was wrong and I need to change).
As the book says, "A Type 4 person likes to play by the rules - to color within the lines - but only as long as they trust the source of the rules and the rules themselves. Once they respect and accept the authority of another person or an organization, the rules that person/organization lays down are easier for them to keep, even if they do not fully agree with those rules."
And we don't trust anyone who doesn't listen to us, respect us, and honor us.
Being a Type 4 is challenging...but being a Type 4 woman is even more challenging. Being authoritative and bold aren't necessarily looked upon as 'feminine' traits. It doesn't fall into the picture of your stereotypical picture of a 'submissive' woman. So again...certain people have issues with me...as has been displayed within everything I've shared here before and also within some of the comments directed toward me that some of you have seen.
Type 4s, because they are still and reflective, step back from a situation rather than jumping into it. They take in the bigger picture and see what is really going on. For instance, in relation to these past 3 years, I said nothing to anyone about any of what was going on for a year and a half. Nothing. That's a long time. What was I doing during that time? I was being still. I was reflecting. I was really getting a still shot of the big picture. I was seeing what was really going on.
That's why it was so wrong for people, who had not been around, to just totally discount me and what I had to say about my life that I had been reflecting on for years. And instead of listening to me, they barged in and insisted that what they had to say and think about my life was the actual truth. They literally formed beliefs about me without listening to anything I had to say. Their way was right...yet, I was the one who was being accused of being a know-it-all...about my own life. This was very evident in the parts of our story that I wrote about in Parts 17, 18, 21, and 22...23 wasn't much different either. :) It was also evident within counseling sessions.
I mean, haha...just completely ludicrous.
It's not that Type 4s aren't teachable. Teachability has nothing to do with it. In this circumstance, it's about not being heard. Not being believed. Not being respected. Not being honored. If you honor and respect me by listening to me and actually taking into account what I have to say...we're good. You don't...it's never going to work between us.
It's also not about 'my way or the highway.' People (counselors, the people I talk about in those Parts 17, 18, 21, and 22) have, over and over in the past 3 years, accused me of being someone who just doesn't want to be with anyone who doesn't agree with me. Yet, 1) It's actually the other way around...they are the ones who refuse to listen to me about my life and refuse to incorporate anything I say is needed, lol, and 2) If you are my friend in real life, or if you have paid attention to some of the more controversial posts on my Facebook page in which people comment...you know and see that I have tons of real, close, heart friends who don't agree with me about lots of things. Agreeing with me about life has nothing to do with whether or not you're my friend or you're a part of my life. In fact, the ability to disagree is actually more of a prerequisite for friendship with me (ha, truly)...and many people just don't know how to disagree with someone (as evidenced by the several 'unfriendings' I've experienced over the years after said controversial postings and their disagreeing).
The tendency of the way others take Type 4s is that they can see them as harsh, judgmental, or too opinionated. And while I definitely have, through much reflection and research, developed specific opinions and beliefs about certain things, even in those things...that is where my Type 2 comes in. Thank God for balance.
Michawn's Type 2 - The way Type 2 shows up in my life is that being connected to others is super important to me. Super. Everyone who knows me in real life knows that I love to network. I not only love to connect with others...but I love to connect these people I know with those people I know when I know that it's going to serve a greater purpose. Besides that...it's just fun. Connectedness is huge for me. Therefore, even if you don't honor or respect me, I will give you many, many chances to do so. I might be straightforward and honest in how I let you know how I feel about your dishonor and disrespect (the Type 4 in me), but I will be gracious in my honesty, and I will give you many chances to still be connected with me.
I am also very sentimental. And my empathy is generally through the roof...so much so that I literally feel it with others and therefore when you are crying, I am usually crying. In fact, many times if you are not crying about it and I'm hearing your sad story, I will still cry...and wonder how on earth you can tell that story without crying. Hahaha.
It's all about balance, people. There are definite things/gifts/motivators that we lead with...but, with all of the other giftings we have, we can usually pretty easily live in balance...as long as we are diligent to keep things in check. But we do have to have the knowledge about these things in order to be able to keep them in check...in order to make sure we live in balance. And we have to be knowledgeable about these things so that we can be better at living well with others. It is really a great tool to use...when relating to anyone. You can know, "ok, this is a Type 2 I'm talking to here...they are, in general, more sensitive. I'm going to honor this person in that...and make sure that I keep those things in mind when with her."
Study your friends and loved ones. Really get to know them. Don't be lazy. That is how you show love and care and respect. Get to know them and who they really are. Ask questions. Listen. And then believe them and honor them in who they are.
As said, this is an useful tool in living well with others. That is especially true between spouses...because they are literally yoked together.
Joel and I thought we knew enough about each other that we were good. I mean, we knew a lot about each other. But, we didn't know enough. It wasn't clear, to both of us, what tendencies we had and what problems could arise because of those tendencies. Some people only learn by experience. And some things can only be learned by actually going through them. But, if you are one of those people who can learn by someone else's experience, and if anything that you might go through can be headed off at the pass before it really gets going in your life by just learning more about this kind of stuff...I highly recommend it. It's worth it.
This 2nd 'lighter' post turned into not being so super light...but, this was the subject that needed to be talked about. And it's actually turning into a 2-part subject, because I still need to talk about the strengths book that we went through. I'll get to that next. Then...Forgiveness! :)