I’ve decided I don’t see personality traits as a monochrome scale running from good to bad. I think they are more like a colour wheel spreading across the full range with many hues, shades and highlights.
As children and teenagers we don’t necessarily know what personality traits we want to make of ourselves and so we experiment with these hues a lot, quite unconsciously. This looks like an unpredictable personality and one that can change fluidly from one moment to the next. If one hue isn’t fully expressing our mood or getting the right response then we’ll try another one.
But as we grow to adulthood we seem to decide what kind of a picture we want to paint about who we are and how we want the world to see us. So we set ourselves up a colour scheme for what hues are appropriate and what are banned.
For me, as an example, I would say one of the pictures I painted was that of a Lady. What is a Lady? One who sits with knees crossed, wears elegant shoes, has impeccable manners, unending patience, keeps control of herself… that sort of thing.
What’s the opposite of a lady? Perhaps out of control, being rude, ungainly, practical, earthy, a bitch, an unbridled temper, a masculine hero or a basic sexual animal who’ll jump whoever she likes.
All these hues that were opposite to the picture I had of myself were never shown the light of day and yet, as a human being these traits were still there shackled in the dark behind closed doors. If any of them stirred in my body or mind I would put the brakes on and refuse to acknowledge them.
Over the last year or so, as I strive to find my true self, there had been instances when these hues would bubble to the surface. Rather than stamping them down before anyone noticed, this time I allowed them some daylight, even if it was just for a short time.
I think it was quite a surprise for those around me and would have left them either ducking for cover or wondering who stole the usual Annabelle but, man, it felt good.
It left me wondering about how we find our true selves. If we lose the picture of what we are supposed to be and allow ourselves to be whatever feels right from moment to moment, we give ourselves the freedom to display our full rainbow of hues.
From that freedom, our true selves – and for me that might be a calm, present, wise, loving angel this morning; a hero getting down in the filthy swamp and holding your head above the water line while we lift you out of the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced this afternoon, or a sparkly firecracker up your bum Coach an hour later – comes from inspiration rather than from limitation and rules.
Without rules you also add a tremendous amount of integrity to who you are.
So what about you? What picture have you painted of yourself that you strive to match your colours to every day?
Is it the victim? The bold entrepreneur? The perfectionist? The selfless giver? The big success? The orderly control freak? The brave explorer? The one who has all the answers?
Write down every personality hue you think you present to the world. Then write down everything that is opposite and open yourself to the opportunity to allow those hues a little daylight over the next few days.
Sometimes just the slightest exposure of these traits unravels the rules you set up. Giving yourself permission to be whatever comes up, just like a child again, can be a great boost to your energy.
Why is that? Because for years now you have been using that energy to suppress those hues. That is exhausting!
Are you afraid to let those out of control elements see the sunlight?
For me I had to be a little crazy for a few days – even a few weeks in some cases – to remove the rules. I did aim to isolate myself if I felt it might hurt someone around me but generally it might be more about me stomping about the house being a fire spitting volcano and explaining to my children that mummy is being angry by herself and it wasn’t anything to do with them.
Having the freedom to express without rules will revitalise you.
Once you’ve accepted all of yourself, you’ll be amazed how truly colourful and beautiful you are.
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