I have long had a bone to pick with personality tests. All of them seemed to focus on all the amazing things about each of us. While each personality has its own gifts to offer the world, there are some seriously messed up people out there. I couldn’t help but believe the things that make us unique and amazing also must have a flip side to leave us open to wrong behavior with out realizing it. I finally found a book that spoke to both sides of personality.
I should go back and say I love personality tests. I have long enjoyed seeing what makes people similar and what makes us different. Why some people were easy for me to understand their patterns of thought, and others why it was such a challenge to see their perspective. I first enjoyed the Myers-Briggs form of personality test. Some people say that it is fake and all it does is phrase the information you give it into paragraph form, but I think that is exactly the point. We all choose different answers based on the way our brain sees information and people. If we can phrase those choices into a description it gives others a helpful recipe to understand our values. While the results aren’t a magic bean, they can help us understand why we make the choices we do in other areas of our life… anyway my two cents.
But…… all that to say it still didn’t include the ways that our ways of seeing things and making decisions can trip us up in life. Several forums I was on got seriously offended if anyone even suggested that personality types could lead to certain negative behaviors… enter “The Road Back to You”.
The enneagram (the personality typing that “The Road Back to You” presents) premise is that there are 9 types of person that correspond to the 7 deadly sins. This means that our greatest strengths will be connected in our lives to our greatest weaknesses. Recognizing those weaknesses can help us to see those patterns in our lives and rewrite them into healthy forms of behavior. Several websites even have 8 levels of healthy to unhealthy ways that the personality type manifests its self… anyway back to the book.
The thing that the book had going for it was the clear, precise way of describing each type. It did it in a way that wasn’t overwhelming. It didn’t leave you feeling bogged down, but gave you a clear overview of the information. One problem a friend of mine and I decided it did have was some of the descriptive language. For instance it would say “A two always does… or never will…” We found that type of strong language to work against the way the enneagram operates in varying levels of maturity.
Any way check it out. I found it to be helpful not only in understanding why I can sink into unhealthy patterns of thoughts and behaviors, but also to understand the things that drive the ones near me that I love. Knowing what drives a person and the way they thing helps me to appreciate them more fully and to be gracious to behaviors I don’t understand.
Have you read “The Road Back to You”? I would love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t read it yet, you can get your copy here.