This week I had a chat with a friend that gutted me. You know the kind conversation I'm talking about. The kind where you feel like you've been kicked in the gut. Punched in the face. They just take the wind out of you. They have you "out of sorts" for a while. They leave you questioning who you are a little. They even cause you to question your own motives.
The Punch In The Face:
Really long story short, in the middle of our conversation my friend stated the problem: "You worry too much about others!" While I know that is actually what they said, what I heard was: "Justin you care too much!" At first, I had no idea why it gutted me. But as I moved through my day and processed it more, I realized I was really worried that someone would perceive my caring or helpfulness as a sign that I was weak or needy, or that I was just willing to help anyone for any reason. (More on that to come.)
Last Spring my buddy Alex, started working with me to better understand my personality. One of the things we discovered as we looked at my personally is that I knew myself relatively well. After a few test and evaluations, we settled on my personality type being ESFP. Not sure what that is? This info from typefinder.com may help you better understand what an ESFP is:
ESFP's take pleasure in the sights, sounds, smells, and textures around them. ESFPs like to keep busy, filling their lives with hobbies, sports, activities, and friends. Because they'd rather live spontaneously than plan ahead, they can become overextended when there are too many exciting things to do. An ESFP hates nothing more than missing out on the fun.
Although they are characteristically fun-loving, ESFPs are also typically practical and down-to-earth. They are grounded in reality and are usually keenly aware of the facts and details in their environment, especially as they pertain to people. They are observant of others and their needs, and responsive in offering assistance. ESFPs enjoy helping other people, especially in practical, tangible ways.
Did you catch the last part? "ESFPs enjoy helping other people, especially in practical, tangible ways."
You Care Too Much
So, should it really matter that a friend thought that I cared too much, or worried too much about them? Naaaaaa. Not one bit. I should blow it off and move on with life, resting in the confidence that our friendship is stronger than ever and that they were bold enough to speak into my life about the way reality looks to them. But (you knew it was coming), it drives me a little nuts hearing it from them. That is until I stopped this morning and took a look at who I was. I pulled out all the documents that Alex and I had worked on and did some reading online about my personality.
So Why All This Rambling
It has been a great reminder to me, and I hope to you, that from time-to-time we need to do a self-audit and see how we're doing. This conversation with this friend caused me stop and do just that. By doing this, we keep ourselves in check. We can slow down for a few minutes and remember how we are perceived. We can also slow down and remember how others relate. How they hear, feel, and want. And they do it all differently than we do.
So, starting again today, I'm working hard to remember that just because I want to, and am willing to help people, it can cause them to feel like I don't trust them. Or that I don't think they can do it without my help. I'm also remembering it often seems to them that I'm oblivious to the havoc I can wreak on other's feelings. And sometimes these characteristics, in the right circumstances, can be seen as weakness. Or that because I'm willing to help you, I'm supporting you. Not true at all. I value your story and I value the season of life where our paths cross... But I'm also remembering that who I am is who I am. I don't apologize for that. I am, however, willing to keep working on me for the benefit of myself as well as those around me.
What is your personality type?
What is it that you need to keep in check?
What is it that others perceive about you and may even take advantage of?