Patience is so important for our lives and health. It will impact the quality of our relationships and the culture of our families. This week we’re exploring how patience and personality type interacts with each other.
In our first week we looked at research that proves that it’s the relationship we have with our kids that actually protects them, not the way we approach them or our boundaries and consequences. Second we revealed that Impatience is on our side of the ledger. It’s not a result of our kid’s behavior. Finally we explored why the root of impatience is selfishness. Impatience comes when our goals and objectives are impeded or they’re not happening in a timely manner.
In week two we talked about Patience and Triggers. Triggers are really important to understand because they override our best intentions and self control. When we trigger, we will overreact. We looked at self awareness strategies that help us head triggers off at the pass. Then we discussed deeper healing so we are not constantly expending energy trying to catch ourselves.
As we think about patience and our personalities, we need to recognize that some personality types will naturally exhibit more patience than others. If you’re like me and find yourself on the other side of the equation, that’s ok. We’re going to explore why and what we can do to alter the focus and priorities to help us understand and become more patient moms and dads.
I throw myself into this for a reason. Patience was difficult for me given my natural personality. It took a concerted effort to become a more patient, compassionate person. As a result, I now see patience and compassion being tied together. When we have little compassion for others feelings, we tend to have less patience with them.
Our Personality Type Impacts Our Patience
One thing is clear. Being patient with our kids requires a more lighthearted, relational approach to issues, delays or bad behavior. This is easier for some personality types than others.
Some of us are naturally more task oriented, goal driven, or more focused on accomplishments than relationships. This moves us toward the very definition of impatience.
Impatience occurs when our objectives, goals or tasks are being thwarted, delayed or impeded. So if you like me are wired to be more task focused, goal driven, or focused on accomplishment, delays will bother you more than more relationally wired family members. Our personality type can set us up to be more impatient.
Given all I do for and with families, it might surprise you how task oriented I once was. I was far more serious and focused on tasks than I am today. If you’re familiar with the disc personality profile, I was high D, high C. D stands for dominant and C for choleric which sounds like a toxic chemical which it can be for relationships when one just runs with one’s strengths.
Dominant means we’re driven, hard workers, and goal oriented which are great traits for business and success but as with any strength, there are equal and corresponding weaknesses. Dominants can tend to run people over to accomplish their goals. I did a lot of that in my younger years.
A choleric is cautious and analytical, which means they analyze things and often have the right answers. Cholerics like to get things right which leads towards perfectionism.
For me it was confusing to have these as very high strengths. They are in some ways polar opposites, so I felt like I was split in half at times because I wanted to go drive and get things done, but first I had to do all of this careful analysis. The challenge for me is that both D and C prioritize doing or tasks. They’re not relationally focused.
I and S in the disc are relationally focused. I stands for Influence. High I’s want to be around people, be in crowds and like being upfront. They are more social butterflies, who naturally are more in tune with people and have more compassion. S stands for sanguine. They are more thoughtful and reflective but sometimes very hard on themselves.
One Mentor Really Challenged Me
I was fortunate given my time on staff with CRU and then having my own company. I was able to sit with a number of key experts and one of them did something that really challenged and helped me related to my natural personality weaknesses.
He had me plot the disc test in a circle rather than on a line graph. Then he gave me a circular chains that we used to tie together the points in the circle. It made these really ugly, sharp pointed shapes instead of a nice smooth round circle. This is what he said to me. “Jesus represented all the personality types in perfect harmony. He was completely round and this is why he related to everybody and had 5,000 chasing him around the Lake.”
Work in and on Your Weaknesses
This is why what he said was so valuable. He did not say, “Hey Jeff, live in your areas of giftedness,” which is what we tend to do with spiritual gifts, tests and personality profiles. Focus on your gifts! Instead he said, “Jeff, focus on your weaknesses. Work on those. Try and become round so that you can connect with people.” That is what I spend most of my time doing today with Revive Family. If this person had not challenged me, there is no way I could do what I do with kids and families today.
As a result of his challenge I sought to see my giftedness and personality bent modify, grow and change. Many of us have come to the conclusion that we can’t change. That once we have our personality type, that’s the way we are. But that’s not true. If we have a big God, if we have a God who tells us to become Christ-like, then we have a God who has given us the ability to change. He enables our hearts and personalities to soften and become more round through the power of the Holy spirit, sanctification, growth and healing. And I’ve seen that happen in my life. Since his challenge I’ve had multiple personality tests given to me. They all show an increase in my desire/ability to influence as well as relate to and connect with people with compassion.
If we can’t change our focus from goals and tasks to people or relationships, impatience is probably going to continue to be an issue for us. We’re going to have a difficult time being patient when our kids are getting in a way of our tasks, objectives and goals. This is why I believe parents’ understanding themselves is so important.
What this means is if you have or have not taken a personality profile, it may be time to take another one and really look at it in light of the relationships with your family members, especially your kids. In fact, one of the things we have in our implementation guide for our Influential Parenting program, is to have everyone in the family take a specific personality profile. Then after reviewing the results, get together individually with your kids. Give them your results, and look at theirs. Then discuss them. This helps your kids understand you better and you will also come to better understand them. The conversations created between parents and their kids are often amazing.
Our Personality Can Be Rounded and Even Change Over Time!
How do we begin to adjust our personality, our focus, if we’re wired to be equation oriented, an accountant or wired to be driven? How do we begin to curb those things within our personality type that can lead to impatience?
When that leader challenged me to stretch myself, to not just function in my strengths, he recommended that I intentionally take on volunteer roles and assignments at work that were outside of my comfort zone, outside of my natural giftedness.
My I was low and my S even lower in the Disc profile. Running a radio program would have terrified me back then. In fact, I remember calling into a sports show once in Phoenix and being one of those unlucky few who froze up on air. It’s and understatement when I say that doing what I do today is outside of my personality and giftedness.
The first step to making significant changes in the priorities associated with our personality requires reviewing results of a personality profile you have taken in the past three years. Another options is to take either a DISC or Myers Brigs online assessment. Focus on the negatives and what you are missing to be round.
Consider how your weaknesses impact the relationships with your kids and hold you back in life.
Become more self aware by seeking honest feedback about your weaknesses from your family members. Listen carefully to what your kids say and do not say related to your weaknesses and the way your interact with them.
Seek to grow in your emotional intelligence by spending time reflecting on your feelings in stressful or difficult interactions with your family. You may need my emotions chart to identify the feelings underneath the frustration, anger, hurt or pain. There are three to five feelings that intertwine to lead to strong feelings of this nature. Identifying and learning to share these freely with your family is essential to growing your heart. Use the contact us form at Revive Family and request the emotions chart. Then begin to put yourself in your kids’ shoes and use the chart to identify how they are feeling in their interactions with you.
Identify the the things you want to see change in you and your communication after talking with your family members. Take them to the Lord in prayer every day.
Identify things you have avoided like I did in my past. I avoided going to large social gatherings and speaking. Because I had little to no compassion for others, I avoided people who were hurting or struggling.
Consider ways you can place yourself in relationships, volunteer positions or situations that are at the center of your most significant weaknesses.
Take the discomfort and or fear you face when stepping into these things to the Lord in prayer asking Him to give you the words to say and to stretch you heart in ways you never thought possible.
Reflect on what you learned from each stretching opportunity you take.
No matter how it goes the first time, place yourself in the position three to five times seeking to learn and grow each time.
Emotional Boot Camp
If you will put yourself in your own personal emotional boot camp and then bring the difficult things to the Lord, He will expand your heart and make you more round leading to amazing changes and freedom in your life.
As you become more aware of your feelings, the final horizon is being emotionally transparent with those close to you. Share with your kids when you’re struggling or worried, as long as you’re not emotionally dumping and looking to them for your emotional stability. I’ve found this transparency dramatically changes the family culture for the better.
Stop and listen to yourself. Do you allow your family members to share their feelings with you? When they’re sharing their feelings, do you listen intently or do you minimize their feelings? Do you seek to give them answers or lecture them with the facts on how to proceed? Do you listen and let them share their feelings with the goal of really understanding and develop compassion for them? I’ve found when you begin to do this as a parent, it really stretches you at first. It’s hard, but boy does it begin to transform your heart.
Identifying your own feelings, getting familiar with those, getting comfortable sharing your feelings is a journey. When we begin to do this with our kids, they begin to be more willing to do it with us. All of these things will stretch, change and transform you. They will move you beyond your personality type. You’ll become more balanced.
We Can Change
I know we’ve been led to believe that our personalities can’t change and that we should work in our areas of giftedness, but I’m going to tell you it’s such a blessing to focus on the weaknesses and trust God to change your heart and focus . Thanks for joining me this week as we continue in this series on patience. I hope you found this helpful and if you have any questions, please use our contact form and I will get back to you. I’ll be back next week with more of Revive Family’a Connecting Hearts and one more program on discovering our patience. Have a great week.