May is on its way to coming to a close and my intention for this month was to dive into ourselves. I’ll be honest, I feel like posts got slightly offtrack or got posted out of the most beneficial order, but here we are and ready to get into some tools for investigating you. I love a good self-help book or personality test, but there are so many out there. Today, I wanted to share a few resources that I’ve found useful.
VIA Character Survey. I first learned about this test in a psychology class I took years ago. We were instructed to take the survey and figure out a career that would fit our top five or six strengths. He warned us to not scroll to the bottom and worry about how we can fix those down there. Of course, I didn’t listen. The survey was created to determine your best strengths among 24 different characteristics that are widely admired across cultures. I might be partial to the test, since that’s what inspired my blog name, but I really do recommend it. Once you know your best strengths, play them up! If you’re interested in taking the free test, click here. I recommend saving your results in some way because I’m not sure if you can reaches them.
The 5 Love Languages. I absolutely love this test even though it’s so difficult for me to put into practice. There’s an accompanying book, which I haven’t read, but you better believe it’s on the list. If you haven’t heard of it, here’s the gist. Dr. Gary Chapman deduced that there are five ways we give and receive love: quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, and gifts. Although, we’ll all typically have varying degrees of each category, most often, we receive love best in the form we give the most. Yet, even if someone’s showering us with words of affirmation, we might not feel loved if what we really need is a hug. What I love about this test is it helps you to understand yourself better, which can help you communicate what you need, but it also is beneficial when interacting with other people, whether that’s family members, a partner, or children. The difficult part is being mindful to give others the type of love they best receive if it’s not something that comes easily to us. If you’d like to take the free quiz, click here.
Enneagram. I first took the Enneagram test through the Enneagram Institute and I was tied between a 4 and a 6, though neither felt quite right. Turns out, I’m actually a 5. So what do these numbers mean? The Enneagram is a personality typing system that consists of 9 different types. You can only be one type, however, you can have a wing, which must be a number on either side of your main type. Another key point, your main type doesn’t change. What I appreciate about the Enneagram is it gives you what you have to offer and what’s good about you, but also areas you struggle with that either need some improvement or are an opportunity to give yourself some grace. It also shows which number whose characteristics you live towards in time of stress or growth. Experts suggest that even if you take a test, read the core fears, desires, and childhood messages for each type, especially the ones you scored the highest for. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Enneagram Institute RHETI test here (which does cost $12) or take a free version here. If you’re into podcasts, my guru, Brené Brown had a recent podcast about the Enneagram, which you can find here. Full disclosure: her guest, Chris Heuertz, says “bummer” a million times, so just be prepared.
Lists. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know that I love lists. Here are a few different lists that I highly recommend when it comes to learning about yourself and seeing you for you.
- I’m Proud of Myself For… What accomplishments, big or small, are you proud of yourself for achieving? I know I struggle to be proud of myself sometimes, so I like having something I can reference and see things that I’m proud of myself for without others telling me they’re proud of me or that I should be proud of myself.
- Talents, Abilities, and Gifts. What skills or positive characteristics do you possess? Extra credit: Think of ways you could use them to help and give to others. I find it’s useful to keep in the forefront of my mind what I’m good at, so when I need a boost of confidence, guidance, or reassurance, it’s right there ready to be accessed. I also think it’s important to note, that if you know it’s a talent or gift, don’t let yourself or anyone else keep you small in that area. Embrace it and use it whenever you can.
- Key Words. What are 3-7 words you’d want to describe you? Maybe a few on your list already do. I like having some words or characteristics to work on or live into. I tried to be as honest with myself as possible and not include anything on there that was too farfetched for who I really am. For example, I’m opting to consider myself nurturing these days over kind or caring. For me, there’s a big difference between the words.
- Values. I listened to a podcast not too long ago (linked here) that opened my eyes. The guest, Jacki Carr, talked about setting goals, but what she mentioned was looking at it globally first. What kind of world would you want to live in? From there, determine what your values are. Then, set goals, but keep your values in mind. Live your life, but keep your values in mind.
30-Day Challenge. I’ve talked about this so much recently, but I wanted to share some more. Too often I hear people who want to completely overhaul their life and plan to jump into a completely new daily routine or whatever it may be. If you’re one of those people, I’m sorry, but STOP. I know it can be frustrating to deal with slow change, but slow change is more likely to stick. If you’re looking to form a new habit, try the 30-Day Challenge. Pick one thing or maybe two small things to work on, grab a notebook, write down your hopes for the challenge, and what obstacles you can foresee having to face along the way. Next, write in it daily. Keep track of yourself and how you’re doing on the challenge. Note your progress, anything that’s been difficult, anything that’s been surprising, and anything you’ve learned. I personally used bullet points and some days I wrote more than others. The goal isn’t for drastic overnight change, it’s to create change that will stick. One step at a time and I promise you will get there. It’s better to feel like you accomplished something than to feel like you failed at everything.
I hope these resources will be useful to you. If you’ve had experience with any of them before or try them out, please let me know how it went and what you learned. I’d love to hear it!