Embracing the Complexity of Who You Are
At the beginning of 2020 I came across the book by Dexter Dias “Ten Types of Human: Who We Are and Who We Can Be”.
The book where neuroscience meets the experience of a human rights lawyer, written in a captivating way.
This is how goodreads.com beautifully captures what this book is about:
“This book will introduce you to ten people. In a way, you already know them. Only you don’t – not really. In a sense, they are you. Only they’re not entirely. They inform and shape the most important decisions in your life. But you’re almost certainly unaware of their intervention. They are the Ten Types of Human. Who are they? What are they for? How did they get into your head?”
There are so many ‘aha’ moments in this book. One overall feeling that it left me with, though, is how complex we humans are.
I see this all the time around me when I pause to look: with clients, work colleagues, at home, with my friends, family. We humans are complex, our relationships are complex, the stories that shape our beliefs are complex too.
And yet, too often we forget this complexity.
We want to find this one thing within us, that if it clicks and once we understand it, every problem we have will go away. We will turn in to that perfect human being we have been destined to be.
We get frustrated and hard on ourselves when we cannot change the behaviours that we know are holding us back. Without taking in to account that change is complex. Very often we have competing values within, that make the path to change that much harder (beautifully explained by Robert Keegan and Lisa L. Lahey in their book “Immunity to Change”).
Too often we fall into the trap: only if I can explain myself better, then they will understand my point of view and come to the “right” way of thinking. Not being open enough for the possibility that there is no one “right” way.
So what do we do with all this complexity?
Accepting that we are complex and giving permission for others to embrace that complexity too, is a good starting point.
We are capable of great change and sometimes that change takes longer than we want. It can be tricky and messy.
Sometimes we will feel incredibly aligned with our values and purpose and will feel great joy, and other times we will feel lost and not sure how we got there.
In the moments where we feel confused and frustrated we need to lean in to self-compassion.
Dr Kristin Neff guides us to this skill step by step in her book “Self-Compassion”.
Self-compassion allows us to acknowledge that sometimes we will make mistakes. That we can find ourselves in situations that truly suck (welcome to a hundred tiny moments of 2020, where many of us just had enough).
It allows as space to feel sad, frustrated, angry, disappointed.
It asks us to treat ourselves as we would treat a dear friend. I do not know about you, but for me, I would never let my friends sell themselves short. Which means – I would be there for them in kindness and compassion when they are down, so I can cheer them on once they are recovered and ready to go again.
2020 has been a complex year (to put it mildly). And it has thrown many curved balls at us. What I came to learn at home with my family and at work with my colleagues, is that embracing complexity makes us more curious. And when we are curious that can help us grow. And when we get things wrong (which we will), self-compassion creates space for acceptance.
Engaged Relationship Builder
Dovile is an experienced strengths coach, who works with professionals and their teams to help them to do better and more of the things that they are good at. For more information e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with Dovile on LinkedIn via https://www.linkedin.com/in/dovilecorrigan/