Question the philosophies, question them every time… oh and trust your opinion.
The other night I once again found myself faced with a New Cage* philosophy that I simply couldn’t agree with. I was being told that the way to attain wealth was to give, and not only to give, but to give beyond my comfort zone. This applied to everything apparently, not just money or material things.
On the surface it sounds like an honourable philosophy; the fear of not having enough, greed, and jealousy all get in the way of manifestation, so if we can give with the confidence that more will come our way, then we are on the right track. Yes, of course, this is the way forward.
What if you are a person with low self worth and you think that the only way anyone will love you is if you give them what they ask for?
What if you are the kind of person who would give the coat off your back to another in a snow storm because you can’t bear to see them suffering?
What if you are a vulnerable person and aren’t ready to question New Cage philosophies or discern when this “rule” should be applied and you find yourself burnt out, homeless, and lonely because you have been taken advantage of?
We can’t apply simple ideas to the complexity of humanity. There will always be scenarios where the “rule” will lead to distruction rather than growth.
So, why is it that people do this? Why are these theories promoted as a “one size fits all” rule?
I wanted to understand why I so often had an issue with these guidelines, so I headed off to the wonderful people at Personality Hacker to understand what was going on. It turns out that, as an INFJ on the Myers Briggs system, I am wired just for seeing where these broad sweeping statements break down and fail. I felt bad for being the one that was always speaking up and saying “yes… but.. what about” and it turns out I need to trust my introverted intuition (Ni in MBTI speak) and the way it sees multiple outcomes to situations. Combine that with extroverted feeling (Fe) and I am fighting for the underdog who could be harmed by mis-applying these suggestions.
My Enneagram 4ness means that I refuse to be part of a herd, I simply can’t follow blindly.
Unfortunately other people are not wired this way, people with introverted sensing (Si) love tradition and tried and tested theories, and the loyalty of an Enneagram 6 will make some people avoid breaking away from group think. This is fine, I am a strong believer in people following their own paths. It’s only a problem when they put themselves in the position of teacher.
Why am I telling you this?
This year I have begun a renewed journey of self discovery, I want to dig back down to the person I was 6 or 7 years ago before bullies, job changes, redundancy, the process of getting back into full time work, and burn out from not understanding my introversion ever so subtly (and at times not so subtly) broke me. Through MBTI, Enneagram, and the wise people I have in my life I have the tools to find my true self and own it with pride.
Yes, I am an introvert
Yes, I am sensitive
Yes, I live with anxiety and depression that comes in waves
and in this case, YES, I am going to stand up and call out philosophies that I fear will harm vulnerable people. I could be that person one day, I have been that person, and I won’t stand by quietly and let people go unquestioned.
If something feels wrong, ask yourself why and trust that this needs a closer look… do you need to change, or do you need to just throw the whole thing away.
*New Cage is a term I learnt from JEFF BROWN and I always like to credit him with its creation. It perfectly fits the way I feel about some of these teachings.