Sunday, 5 April 2015

Ramblings on Gratitude - week 14

The transformative power of gratitude to me is huge. At the moment I’m preparing myself to go on a new journey. I’m facing one of my fears and accepting that ‘others‘ have the power to define this journey. I’m feeling the fear. I’m anxious since someone threw me a curveball at a time I least expected it. I was on a roll the past couple of weeks. Having one of the best experiences in my life. Find my niche and enjoying this gift. I’m now however waiting for the euphoria that comes after meeting your fears and totally proving them to be groundless (Mike Dooley, 2015). I’m hoping that my fear is groundless.

When you feel fear, it invariably means you're:
1. Exactly where you're supposed to be.
2. Doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing.
3. Becoming more than you've ever been before! (Mike Dooley,2015).

I know that worrying is a total waste of time. It doesn’t change anything. All it does is steel your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing (Lionel Willard). I've tried it and it doesn't work!

It is kind of funny that my attitude gets me in trouble every time, especially my inquisitive attitude. I’m critical and insightful. Usually I’m praised for this. I try to understand the person, and people in general. I listen! I love sharing my knowledge, views and vision. Trying out new things is the explorative part of me. Being innovative and not being scared of change is me (this trait usually curves me well). Putting this experience into practice makes me rather successful and enables me to achieve my goals and the goals of others. Being a researcher is not just a role it is who I am. Sadly, this trait convokes fear in others.  People in general are scared to move forward and embrace change. I love change and new experiences. Exploring is what I need to do.

Every time I think I’ve got fear figured out, I learn something new that helps me to understand me. Fear isn’t something to deal with and get past it. It is a signal that I need to take action ‘now’. I realise a window of opportunity is opening for me. This is what Mike Dooley means: becoming more than you’ve ever been before. I’m grateful for this insight.

The bells in the part of me that ‘knows’ that I need to go for IT are ringing. Since Thursday my mind and body are on full alert, the neck pain and backache are signs that my body is in stress. Getting past my fears is more important than ever. My body can’t handle this stress for long!

Maybe I just should be grateful that that someone threw me that curveball. Maybe I’ve stopped growing and I’ve achieved what I was meant to do. I have to stop avoiding being chained by this fear that I’m not happy when I feel not being accepted for who I am, the inquisitive Helen. I have to stop seeking tranquility and trying to conform.

Seeking this tranquility is crippling. Me trying to fit in is blocking my ability to be the best at what I do. It seems I’m not the only one who is being encouraged to be like everyone else. The organizations we work in, the society we live in, is teaching us to avoid unpleasantness, deny reality and miss opportunities, by showing us that when you don’t conform you will be dismissed. We are learning to live with the fear to fail, the fear of dismissal, the loss of social status and income. Ultimately this can lead to depressive feelings. The prevalence of depression is high in the Netherlands. The percentage of people with anxiety or depression varies between 34 to 45% in the Netherlands (RIVM). Usually this also affects the quality of life. Quality of life declines! This also affects absenteeism! The percentage of employees that were absent from work in 2010 is above the EU27 average (RIVM). In the Netherlands 40% of the working force is one to 15 days absent from work. Who would have thought? Heinz Bude, a German sociologist, proposes and interesting perspective.

We live in constant fear and either become depressed, conform or never meet our expectations. The message society is trying to give is to be yourself and seek your full potential in our individualistic society. But underneath on a relational level we hear that we prefer everyone to be the same. I wish I could read German. I would really like to read Heinz Bude’s (2014) essay, Gesellschaft der Angst (Hamburger Edition). If someone who is reading my blog and know where I can find a translation of this essay, please message me.

It is hard to teach a dog a new trick. I can’t change my inquisitive personality. I do realize that this leads to irritations, envy, and discomfort in some people. Let’s just decide we need to accept each other’s habits; the good ones as well as the bad habits. Is this too easy to expect that we can accept each others habits?

I’m listening to my fear but I won’t obey it. I’m at a crossroads. Wondering where this path will go.

As you know I have an INFJ personality (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). I therefore flourish in a career that involves developing deep insights into people, and helping them to change for the better. I like a good working atmosphere where I can use innovative ways to give people insight, build relationships and reduce conflict. I like a workplace where there is more:

  • thinking about ideas and information (Introversion)
  • dealing with possibilities and potential (iNtuition)
  • making decisions using subjective values (Feeling)
  • using a well-defined and structured workstyle (Judgment)
I need to know that what I do has meaning, helps others, and leads to personal growth. It really helps when this is possible in line with my values, principles and beliefs. Usually my strengths make me easy to work with. Sadly, there is always someone who will take advantage of INFJs’ commitment to their responsibilities by simply shifting their burdens onto me. I usually don’t even mind. However, there are times it becomes an issue, when that person isn’t happy with the result. Especially when that person doesn’t feel appreciated and isn’t getting the attention that person believes she deserves.

Wondering what your personality type is?

A flaw in my character/personality is that I don't tolerate someone who undermines my ethics or values. I have no tolerance for lapses in reliability or morality. I'm also not good with attention seekers. How hard I try not to show or act on this, some how it shows. I can't hide my true feelings and emotions. The usual sensitive, understanding, and principled person becomes dysfunctional. Yes, I don't react well in such cases. I therefore need to step back and act the lone wolf from time to time, pursuing my own goals in my own ways. I avoid (certain) people and this doesn’t make me popular. My weaknesses are my sensitivity, that I’m extremely private (although you might not think so when you have been following my blog for some time or are reading this post), and I always need a cause (goal). I can burn out easily. I find it hard to balance my ideals with the realities of day-to-day living. I'm a little perfectionistic. 

I crave working in a meaningful setting where creativity is a necessity. Using my insight to connect events and situations to effect change is where I’m happiest. I like being independent, following my heart, applying a personal touch, creativity and altruism to everything I do. Teaching gives me that satisfaction. It is rewarding and gives me energy. 

At the moment it feels like I’m under scrutiny, I’m wilting under the criticism and pressure of some people who want me to conform. I’m trying to figure out how to remain being me and not be confined by what the ‘others‘ want me to be. Although when I ask how they want me to act, they can't be specific in their answer. I really need some clarity. I really hope to understand what they want from me. 

So lets do IT and hopefully I can handle the consequence. I’m on a crossroads (again) and wondering which path to take. Both paths seem attractive. I’m grateful I'm conquering my fear and that I’m up for another challenge. 

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