Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Self Discovery

Ever since taking a "Living Your Strengths" class through my church, I have been curious about what other behaviors I have that are either a 'strength' or a 'weakness'.  Last week I bought "What Your Childhood Memories Say About You" by Dr Kevin Leman.  I have enjoyed most of the book.  I enjoyed it up until he started suggesting ways to change your life for the better.  Which, I suppose if you are one of those people he labeled as going too far in your strength makes sense.  But for someone like me who can't quite figure out where I fit in his analysis.

I enjoyed thinking back to my childhood and picking out memory from story.  His definition of a memory is something in which you can attach a feeling to it; a story is something you simply retell with no emotional ties, you have probably assimilated the story into your memory as being an actual memory.  But then this is where it got a little difficult for me.  After you come up with your memories and think about them, meditate and write down exactly what you remember, you are to analyze them and see how they have shaped your "private logic".  Which would be fine and dandy if all my memories followed the same lines....Or I also think I'm trying to force them into a category into which they don't belong.

For instance he says and many of his examples show, that firstborns/only children often have exact and detailed memories.  This isn't quite true for me.  Some of the memories I came up with are sometimes an exact moment, sometimes they're kind of a blurry reminiscence of several moments but I remember how I felt when I did those things.  Because of this I begin to question if I'm using a valid memory and then the whole process goes down the drain.  But if I were to go with my memories I did write down, I come up with a private logic of perfectionist, fierce independence and feeling of responsibility.  Which I guess fits.

Every time I walk away from this post, I start thinking and new lightbulbs start going off in my brain.  It's like the being puzzled about it, thinking about it without meaning to and all of a sudden it's like "Hmm, maybe that's what it meant...."  Weird huh?

So if I follow his logic this is how my private logic was formed and what the 'moral' of my life is.

The most prevalent childhood memories I have include hitting tennis balls against our garage in Florida.  I remember keeping count of how many times in a row I'd volley against the garage and be upset when I missed and started all over again.  I remember being extremely competitive with my neighbors (the little sister of a friend and my best friend Charlie) when we would play baseball or running or even Monopoly.  According to Dr Leman this can attribute to a feeling of fierce independence in adulthood. 

Another memory of mine is when my aunt and uncle crashed my grandpa's car.  I don't remember it being a bad accident, just a fender bender probably but it was with one of his sports' cars.  O.o  I distinctly remember them telling me to not tell because they would handle it and it was very late.  But I remember thinking it was horrible not to let him know and so I snuck into my grandparents' room to tell them.  Wow I was in trouble with my aunt and uncle but probably not in as much trouble as them.  :D  Dr Leman says these kinds of memories attribute to a sense of responsibility and maybe toeing over the line later in life.

The last distinct memory of mine is from kindergarten.  It was towards the end of the school year and we were talking about what color we wanted to tie-dye our tee shirts for field day.  Everyone was throwing out their favorite colors and so I piped up and said "Silver!"  I remember everyone laughing at me and telling me that you can't tie-dye a shirt silver and I've always felt uncomfortable sharing my opinion unless I was pretty sure it was a sound one.  And even then...well, there are some things I refuse to share an opinion on because I don't want to look/sound/feel stupid.

So looking at these memories and what they can lead to led me to tie them in with the strengths and weaknesses he introduces later in the book.  The ones that stick out to  me were giver and taker.  I think giver because it says the strength here is to "consider others' needs".  Obviously from the parent aspect and I think it really ties in to my empathy strength from my LYS class.  I also feel I identify with taker because its strength is "knows what he/she wants".  Not all the time, but I do feel that I'm pretty sure in what I do and do not want in certain things.  In fact a few months ago I asked my husband if he thought I was a horrible controlling person because I tried to lay out what I wanted/expected from him so there was no confusion or I couldn't get upset unless I told him what I wanted. 

So I guess the answer to my question "The moral of my life is..." would be to stay tenacious, keep going at it, don't give up.

I admit I have been scanning a lot of these later chapters because he is focusing on how we lie to ourselves using our private logic and how we can fix that.  It's still unclear to me where the two meet in my mind but that will be something for another day.  The chapter I am currently on is discussing how we can learn what makes our friends/family tick and what their private logic is simply by using their childhood memories.  He gives a few questions to think about afterwards and by putting these together you can better communicate and be.  I think this is always a plus because it's always nice to be understood and understand well.

So in ending....this is the post that took forever to write and meditate on :D

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