Day 7: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Finding the Potholes


Last week I didn’t write much because I had The Cold from Hell. My son, who gave it to me, kept assuring me that it wouldn’t last long. He was right but those were three days of pure misery, I went through 4 boxes of Kleenexes and a small bottle of ibuprofen.

It feels so good to breath through my nose again!

I’m going to look at ways I can trip myself up as an Enneagram 4.

How I Can Get in My Own Way

I’m using the term “potholes” because most of these things are like potholes in the road. Potholes make the ride a lot more jarring and unpleasant than necessary but they don’t derail you. Potholes can also be repaired pretty easily (usually).

  1. My self-identity is centered around “not-enoughness.” I actually go through life seeing myself as a “person who is not enough.” This creates no end of problems, many of which, I wrote about in the “Doom Loop.”
  2. Over-identifying with my emotions. For example, I’ll say, “I’m really pissed off,” The truth is I’m a person is is feeling pissed off. It’s not just semantics. It’s important for me to see the distinction because emotions come and go. The core of who I am is me.
  3. Focusing on “what’s wrong” and “what’s missing.” No surprise that I’m having feelings of anger, sadness, and fear if I’m focusing my attention on everything that is wrong.
  4. Self-criticism and self-loathing. No one can be crueler to me than me. At some point in my life it made it easier to deal with mean people and hurtful situations. Now it just makes me hard to live with.
  5. Deflecting compliments and appreciation from others. Notice when someone says something nice to me and I feel that inner “cringe” which means I’m not allowing myself to fully take it.
  6. Attachment to “Being Special” at the Expense of Others? Am I getting snarky and criticizing other people? Putting them down? Even when done with humor? I’ve noticed that I’ll often engage with humorous put downs but when I read them after some time passes I notice the current of nastiness and resentment that flows pretty close to the surface.
  7. Attachment with being the “odd man out” When I’m in groups I can quickly go to the place of “I’m the only one who thinks this way/feels this way.” This is often accompanied by feelings of self-pity and powerlessness because I feel I’ll be out-voted, 0ut-maneuvered, or simply bullied into silence.
  8. Making things too difficult or complicated so I’m too overwhelmed to do new things. For example, I’ve been interested becoming an eBay seller but I’ve made the whole process so hard for myself that I haven’t even tried to list anything. I’ve put this off for nearly a year now!
  9. Being a perfectionist. This is related to #8 although there are some differences. But it still comes down to giving myself permission to do things in small steps and focus on completing those steps rather than on outcomes.

This is pretty complete list. I’ll expand it if I come up with anything else (an example of letting myself do things in small steps rather than needing it to be complete and perfect from the beginning.

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Filed under Enneagram Type 4, Getting Out of My Own Way

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