Have you ever taken one of the innumerable personality tests that are out there these days? I took a fair number of them as part of some research when we were setting up the School. Results vary so much from provider to provider and from day to day, I came out differently almost every time. Talking things over with those who know me better than I know myself, it appeared that they would each place me in a different area. I would have categorised myself differently again, but their observations encouraged me to have a good look and re-examine a few things. ‘Know thyself’ takes on a whole new layer of meaning when you actually start looking.
Over the years, like many of us, I have been obliged to submit to the psychometric testing now required for many jobs. The results can be illuminating in ways perhaps not immediately obvious.
I remember going to the first one at a time when my self-confidence was minimal and my self-belief even less. I never did have much of either; I had been raised in the shadow of one of those sparkling people and felt dull beside the glitter and inadvertently allowed that contrast to undermine my confidence as I grew. An unusual adolescence, a disastrous marriage and having my face rearranged by a drunk driver didn’t help my self confidence much either. So the young woman who began to grow into life always felt second rate. Almost, but never quite, good enough. No matter how conscientious I was, how hard I worked, or how much I tried, I never expected to amount to much. I saw myself as second best. A shy, retiring mouse of a woman. And because I saw myself that way, I allowed others to see me that way too.
Life took a new direction when I packed my bags and went to work in Paris. Years passed and the blinkers wobbled a bit. I recognised the flaws in my own growing as I learned to instil confidence into my sons. I didn’t care what they did with their lives as long as they were happy, healthy, whole human beings. I wanted them to believe in themselves and know that I did too. Raising them while dealing with my late partner’s cancer I found I had a lot more confidence than I had known. It was odd really, as I had always believed that every one of us is valuable, unique and necessary to the world. Always known that we carry within us a spark of the Divine Life… and what can be greater than that? Yet somehow that knowledge didn’t filter through into my vision of myself.
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