I was on my favorite magazine’s, Darling, website the other night when the headline of one of the articles caught my attention. The title was, “Breaking Up With Your Ideal Self.” The article resonated with me and got me thinking about my own life. So, I thought I would take a chance to write my own feelings about this topic.
You have heard me talk about the enneagram before and I am a type three. Three is also known as, “The Achiever.” In short, threes are success-oriented. This is how the Enneagram Institute describes personality typed threes.
“Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others.”
- Basic Fear: Of being worthless
- Basic Desire: To feel valuable and worthwhile
Have you ever read something before and feel ashamed because it hits a little too close to home? Yeah, me too. That’s how I feel when I read the lines, “overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism.” Although I’m happy to be a three, I sometimes let my ideal expectations of a three get in the way of my happiness.
By definition ideal means: satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable. Or: existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality
I had so many ideals for myself going into college and in life. I would go to university, write for the school paper, land an internship in New York, travel abroad, become a well-known blogger, etc, etc.
Reality: I went to university, switched majors, transferred schools, wrote for the newspaper once, and am slowly trying to build this sweet little online diary of mine, and instead of doing any study abroad, came home for the summer.
My type three personality found myself going into micro-analysis mode, and before I knew it I was crying over my delicious Italian dinner, feeling as if I was a on a rollercoaster that only went down. I was seeing all of my friends doing things with their lives and I felt as if I wasn’t doing anything to take myself to the next level.
Are any of those things true? No. I may not be where I want to be yet, but where I’m at now is pretty dang great for this season of my life. Will I ever get a big internship in New York? Maybe, maybe not. That’s okay! Will my blog ever be huge? Maybe, maybe not. But if only one person reads it and is touched from these life stories then it’s all worth it.
The danger with having an “ideal self” is that it robs us of contentment in the present. As stated in the Darling article, “It makes us feel as though we are never quite enough and that we haven’t yet arrived. The truth is, your ideal self isn’t coming to the party. She wasn’t invited because she doesn’t exist. But you do. With your quirks, insecurities and seemingly insufficiencies. And that’s a beautiful thing…Don’t let your ideal expectations rob you of your present joy. You are far too valuable, too lovely and absolutely irreplaceable for that.”
Maybe you’ve recently found yourself in that same sob party that I found myself attending and you need to breakup with the expectation or ideal of who you need to be. The irony is, we can be our worst enemies, and sometimes we have to just tell ourselves to shut up and get out of our way. Truth is, you’re doing so much better than you think you are. So breathe, trust the process and timing of this quick and beautiful life that God has given us, and celebrate the things you have done, and will do. I promise you will get to where you’re supposed to be.