Do You Feel Seen?

I read an article recently about Van Gogh. The article talked about how two years before his death he was committed to an asylum and no one considered his art worth anything. It goes on to talk about how humans are herd animals. If the group said Van Gogh’s art was worthless then it was worthless. They totally missed the genius in front of them.

Before turning to art Can Gogh was a missionary who gave everything away to the poor which caused him to be dismissed by the church because of his too literal approach to Christianity. More thoughts on that at another time.

During the last few years of his life  he produced an astounding 2100 pieces of art. Starry Night and Cafe Terrace at Night are just two of his works that are considered priceless today. One estimate I found said Starry Night is worth $100 million.

Yet he died penniless. A tortured artist who had been committed to an asylum if the legends are correct.

His brilliance wasn’t seen. He wasn’t seen. He never felt seen.

My question for you, friend, is do you feel seen? Do you feel that your gifts and strengths and passions are seen and valued in your job, family, or church?

I think we could all raise our hands couldn’t we? This can be especially hard if you’re in a season of in between. In a liminal space. Maybe your bosses just want you to produce or get the tasks done without looking deeper to find out your strengths or insights. You may feel a bit out of harmony with yourself because your gifts and strengths aren’t being used like they could. Your spirit just feels out of true. I get it. I’m right there with you.

The article I read went on to say we should not surprised by this and we should take inspiration from it. People miss things. They miss what’s right in front of them. Instead of being hard on ourselves we have a bit thicker skin and be more confident in ourselves.

I agree with this at least to a point. Yes, be confident in ourselves but what if we decided to be intentional about seeing the gifts and strengths other bring to the table? What if we made others feel seen?

I hope that others value you not only for your gifts and strengths but also just because you are simply you and you have immeasurable worth and value.  I hope you feel seen.

If you aren’t sure what strengths and gifts you bring to the world around you, I would love to help you. Click here to schedule a discovery call about how Enneagram and life coaching can help you. Helping people understand themselves through the Enneagram and their strengths and gifts brings me so much joy. I would love to help you reach your highest potential with purpose and peace.

The Gift of You

Do you know you have gifts and strengths? Maybe no one has ever told you that, but I want you to know that you do.

It’s very easy when you start learning about yourself through the Enneagram to focus on the unhealthy aspects of your personality. Because part of identifying our type requires acknowledging our shadow side characteristics, it can be easy to spotlight our faults. When we allow our thoughts to hover around these we miss the point. It’s when we bring those negative traits into the light they begin to lose their power and we can begin to not only show ourselves grace, but others grace as well.

We can’t live in a scarcity mindset about ourselves or we stunt our personal growth and will give power over to those shadow side traits.

While it’s important to acknowledge where we our personality is unhealthy, it’s equally, if not more, important to live into our true self with an abundance mindset.

We have innate talents or gifts that we are born with. I’m not saying we are masters at these right out of the gate. We must learn to use them and refine them. We must learn to use them for the good of humanity. Whether raw or refined, we are all created with gifts and strengths.

For lack of a better word, our “personality,” also has strengths that when used in a healthy way can bring to the world.

Ones are detail oriented and good at creating processes and procedures. Ethical and responsible, they follow through on completing tasks.

Twos are positive, compassionate, and caring. They encourage and support others and are very service oriented.

Threes have a strong desire to achieve goals and are very task oriented which gives them an amazing ability to execute a plan and bring people together to accomplish that plan.

Fours are very sensitive to the feelings of others making them very accepting of others. They are discerning and emotionally intuitive and have a depth of creativity.

Fives are superstars are gathering information and analyzing and making sense of it. While independent, they are also humble and kind.

Sixes are excellent problem solvers and while some say they are worst case scenario thinkers when healthy this gives teams great insight when developing projects. Sixes are loyal team players.

Sevens bring so much joy and energy to their world. They are optimistic and excellent multitaskers and innovative.

Eights are confident and action-oriented. They are big picture thinkers who are able to empower and encourage others. Eights are also not afraid of conflict.

Nines are able to see all sides of a situation. They are friendly, encouraging, supportive of others and see the best in others. They want everyone to have a voice and can be great mediators.

I’ve spent most of my life living in a scarcity mindset when it came to my gifts and abilities. I’m so glad I’m flipping the script on that soundtrack that has followed me most of my life. My dream as a coach is to encourage others to know they have amazing strengths and gifts to share with those in their world. I’m very task oriented, but I’ve begun seeing my “task” as helping people feel seen, helping them discover their own superpowers, aka strengths & gifts, and help them to grow towards their highest potential with purpose and peace.

Do You Know Your Worth?

Do you know your true worth?

Whether consciously or unconsciously, do you base your worth on your paycheck? Or your success? Or your productivity & how much you can get done? Or how many games you win if you’re an athlete? Or how other people are succeeding or what others have or are doing?  The list could go on.

We don’t base the value of someone with special needs like Down’s syndrome on how much they achieve do we? No. We value them even more because of the amazing gift they are to the world.

Why on earth then do we determine our own worth by our paycheck, our achievements, our success, what we create and produce, or how we compare to others, etc?

I have a theory. We live in a scarcity mindset when it comes to knowing our own worth. I know I do. It’s something I’m working on overcoming.

We listen to negative words about us from others. Of course the persons speaking those over us do not realize how their words can damage our spirits. We compare ourselves to others. What’s the old saying? “Comparison is the thief of joy?”

What other people say about us or to us has zero to do with our worth.

When we compare ourselves to others, all we are doing is questioning how God created us.

Another symptom of scarcity mindset is something I have observed within myself as well as others. Our first reaction when we don’t agree with someone is to label them as bad or wrong.

We devalue their worth because we don’t agree with their beliefs or religion or lifestyle. We may not do this consciously, but it happens whether we are aware of it or not. 

Our ego stuck in a dualistic mindset subconsciously thinks if we devalue someone else because they are different or do not believe what we believe then it somehow raises our own worth.

If we want to understand how we see our own worth, we have to be brutally honest with ourselves about the worth and value we see in others. In reality, all devaluing someone else does is continue to devalue our own self worth. It continues the downward spiral into even more of a scarcity mindset.

I’ve lived with a scarcity mindset about my worth and value for as long as I can remember. Part of this is due to my personality. As an Enneagram One, I have always had this inner critic telling me that I’m not good enough or I’m not doing a good enough job. I call this inner critic “little Amy.” Thanks to the work I’ve done through the Enneagram and working with my own coach I now understand that while this part of my personality thinks it is trying to help, it ultimately sabotages me.

And honestly? I’m tired of living with this scarcity mindset about my worth and value. Whether it be work or any other situation, when I go into it with the scarcity mindset that I am not good enough it gives other people permission to treat me as if I have no worth or value. I’ve experienced this very recently in a situation. Plus it keeps me in a downward spiral of being critical of others and myself.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Knowing your own worth isn’t pride when we know our worth is found in Christ. If we are created in God’s image, if we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and if before we were formed God knew us, we have worth simply because we are.

Knowing our worth may mean there will be times we have to stand up to people to keep them from running over us. I don’t think Christ meant to allow people to run over you when he said turn the other cheek. I think he meant to let go of any reaction you have to the situation. You can still take action and create boundaries without having an internal reaction to what is happening. People won’t like you when you set boundaries with them. It won’t be comfortable. Believe me I know this first hand, but it is necessary.

My worth does not come from anything external. This is knowing that my worth is based in Christ and not anything I do on my own or how I achieve or produce or perform or what other people say about me. 

As a coach I use the tool of the Enneagram to help others discover that their worth is not based on what they do or what others say or what they achieve. I love seeing people understand themselves a little more each session and discover the beautiful gifts and strengths God created them with to share with the world.

What about you? Can you see times in your life where you were living with a scarcity mindset about your own worth and value?

To learn more about coaching click here to schedule a discovery consultation! I would love to help you in your personal and/or leadership growth!

A Practice of Rest

Sabbath. It’s something that became almost sacred to me during 2020. The world was so noisy and filled with so much fear I physically needed it. I also needed it spiritually.

I needed to rest. I also needed to cease. Cease the endless chatter vying for room in my mind.

I needed to unplug from the world that seemed to have gone crazy. I could sense the fear coming from people when I went to work or the grocery store. It was suffocating.

Sabbath became a life preserver for my sanity. I refused to live in the fear I saw people living in.

Sabbath and the spiritual practice of centering prayer kept me centered.

Sabbath doesn’t just mean to cease and rest. It’s letting go of our autonomy and reminding ourselves we can’t do anything on our own. It’s trusting that God will provide even when we are still, and not producing.

When I talk to people about Sabbath, everyone says they are too busy to make practice a Sabbath.

I remember when I was a little girl all the businesses were closed on Sundays. And many businesses closed at noon on Wednesdays. Rest was a part of life.

I’m not sure when that changed. It was a gradual change. I believe it’s time we flipped the script on what culture tells us we should be doing. It’s an act of rebellion against a noisy and chaotic world when we cease our striving to produce and do for an entire day. It has the potential to help bring us back to our true self and find our purpose in who God created us to be. We are able to share with those in our lives the divine love of God when we aren’t’ thinking about what we need to be doing next. It helps us live in the present moment without feeling shame about the past or anxiety about the future.

Now we think that rest is earned. But what if we shifted our mindset from earning the rest to working FROM a place rest? 

What if we changed our perspective on Sabbath? If you are uncomfortable with the term Sabbath, call it a Practice of Rest. Whether you are religious or not, it can be a life changing practice. We don’t have to be legalistic about it. We can set our intention to rest and prepare for that intention as best as possible. The point is not to follow a set of “rules,” but to set an intention in our heart. We set our intention to cease striving just for that day and find delight. Your delight might be in gathering with friends. It might be enjoying a hobby or visiting with family. It might be literally resting and just reading.

My challenge to you is to start your practice of rest small. Maybe set aside 6 hours one day a week and do not think about work or chores or what you need to be doing and instead do things to just simply be. The point isn’t to follow a bunch of rules, but to do something that brings you rest and delight. Something that brings you life so you can work FROM rest instead of earning rest. Not only will it have an impact on your emotional and spiritual help in a profound way, it can also impact your physical health in positive ways.

These books have been helpful in my study of Sabbath and establishing the practice of a day of rest:

Garden City by John Mark Comer

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

The Sabbath – Abraham Joshua Herschel

Sabbath – Dan Allender

Annie F. Downs has also shared a great deal about Sabbath and this video from her shares more.

Joy

Joy cannot be found outside of ourselves. It can only be found when we are following the way of Christ and are present in the moment.

You often hear people talk about joy and how it is different that happiness. And I believe this is true. Happiness is dependent on outside forces. Things we cannot control. But joy is a deep inner peace.

How many times have you heard a sermon or message in church on joy? Having grown up in church I’ve lost count. But of all those sermons and messages on joy I can only remember it being said to abide in Jesus. But what does that really mean?

I was told it meant to do certain things: Read your bible more. Pray more. Be more involved at church. Give to the church more.

Supposedly doing these things more would bring you “MORE” joy. I’m not saying any of these things are bad. I’m not saying that at all.

But what do you do when you’ve done all those things “MORE” and you don’t feel joy?

Personally, I’ve found there was one key piece missing in how I was taught to “abide in Jesus.”

When I learned to walk in the way of Christ that Jesus lived, something shifted.

If we pare all the rules of religion down to simply the way that Christ taught, we see that he lived truly in the present moment almost all the time. He loved, but didn’t condemn. He didn’t base others worth on what they did or didn’t do. Jesus knew how to just simply be and be present in the moment right in front of him.

Look at the verses about the flowers of the field and birds of the air in Matthew 6:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Think back to the times where you truly felt and peace and a deep sense of joy. Were you worrying about the future? Were you replaying something from the past that caused you shame or stress? No. Most likely in those moments of deep joy you were present in that very moment.

Think back to the times where you truly felt and peace and a deep sense of joy. Were you worrying about the future? Were you replaying something from the past that caused you shame or stress? No. Most likely in those moments of deep joy you were present in that very moment.

I believe we don’t experience deep joy because we don’t live in the now as Eckhart Tolle calls it. When we learn to be present without wishing it were any different than it is, that is when we experience deep joy. Wishing the moment were different than what it is is being resistant to what is. Yes, this can be hard to do when the moment is painful or frustrating or something we consider bad. But it is what it is and by resisting it we get stuck and use our valuable energy on wishing it were something other than it is.

When we have moments that are so enjoyable and experiences we consider great, we have a tendency to cling to those moments instead of letting them flow through us as Michael Singer puts it in Living Untethered. Clinging to these moments can keep us from experiencing the moment and experiences right in front of us. We can be so focused on wishing what we are experiencing was as good as that other experience we are clinging to that we are blinded to the goodness right in front of us.

Resisting and clinging both keep us from experiencing true joy.