On Self-Awareness


Coming of age stories have always held a special place in my heart.

Coming of age stories are about characters coming to grips with some form of reality or about themselves in the 'real' or 'adult' world that they did not accept or recognize previously. The crazy thing about these stories is they can happen at any point in life.

Take the film "Little Miss Sunshine," this is a coming of age story for about every character. Olive is the obvious 'coming of age' character, but so is her older brother, her parents, and even her grandparents. I won't go into a deep analysis of the film, but if you've seen it just think about it and I bet you'll see where I'm coming from. If not, pause what you're doing and go watch one my all time favorite films right away (if you want; not trying to control you life.)

Anyways, coming of age is a genre but it is more than that. It is a constant state of being for humans as we are constantly learning, evolving, and changing. My question is this: how does this play out in our self perception? How self-aware are we and how self aware do we need to be? 

If you know me well at all then you know that I am a heavy supporter of being single for a long time and especially in transformative stages of life. I have always held that truly knowing yourself should precede truly knowing another (especially in the Biblical sense of the word.) I'm 24 years old now and I'm aware that I'll probably meet the person I'll marry in the next few years. I'm glad that I'm not married yet and I'm forever grateful for my time spent single. As much as I've learned and grown over the past five years or so, I'm realizing how little that changes even while in a marriage relationship. Seeing my friends and family getting married and living out their lives with another I'm realizing that we will forever be waking up next to a semi-stranger, as well as looking at a semi-stranger in the mirror. 

As I type, I am having a conversation with my roommate about the "RHETI Enneagram Type" test as well as the Myer's Briggs personality test. I loved taking these tests, and especially in learning about my personality through the lens of being an ENFP I feel as if I understand myself better. I appreciate these tools and I believe they are helpful in not only knowing ourselves better but in understanding those around us more. However, as above mentioned, humans are not static creatures. We are ever-changing. Each line I read about my personality type I must take with a grain of salt, and I must do the same for my friends, family, and others. 

Why? Because seeing oneself or others in soley in the the light of their personality type is a bit dehumanizing. I have many friends who share the same ENFP personality type that are completely different from me and from each other. They do not like the same music or films as I do, they do not enjoy the same foods, they don't hold the same beliefs about God, the meaning of life, or even have the same sense of humor as I do. And what's funny about that is this: the Lyndsie that existed two years ago does not have the same taste of music as I do now, I watch different films, I like different foods, I experience God differently, and I even think different things are funny. And the Lyndsie that will (God wiling) exist three years from now will again be completely different. 

I don't want to get caught up in a picture of myself as who I am supposed to be in light of my personality or how others perceive me and forget to grow. I also don't want to keep myself from letting others into my life just because I feel like I need to be "all figured out" beforehand. In the end, I hope that as I am going through each coming of age moment I am able to love and grow alongside others without putting myself or them in any kind of box.