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Why do so many people go through life feeling unhappy, dissatisfied, and unfulfilled? I believe that, in many cases, itâ€™s because theyâ€™ve been taught to suppress their core being â€" the unique traits that combine to make them who they really are. This is one of the reasons why people often experience a sense of wonder after they take the Perceptual Style Assessment (PSA); they begin to understand and embrace their unique talents and skills.
I never get tired of watching the magic that happens when someone reads the description of their own Perceptual Style!
Itâ€™s profound; thereâ€™s a sense of wonder about how the description could fit them so well, followed closely by a sense of deep validation of something they have long known about themselves but couldnâ€™t quite put into words.
When you read your own Perceptual Style description, you feel more than just delight in the accuracy of the description: there is also a great sense of relief when you realize that the differences you experience between yourself and others is not because there is something wrong with you. Thereâ€™s real joy in understanding that these differences are normal, and that it is OK â€" great, actually â€" to be exactly who you are.
As powerful as I know the experience to be, I was still deeply moved by a story a client shared with me recently, after getting his PSA results:
â€œI was angry as a teenager, and as an adult I have been unhappy and depressed much of my life. I have been through eight years of therapy, but it wasnâ€™t until after contemplating my PSA results that I finally figured out what I was angry and unhappy about.â€
These words were not uttered by someone who was struggling to make a living or who was a marginal member of society. He is a successful business owner who grew up in a loving home in an upper middle class neighborhood in the late 60s and early 70s. He is happily married, has successfully raised three children, and appears happy and content with life. So his declaration came as a surprise to me. Once I heard what he had to say, I realized his story was far from unusual and needed to be retold in a public forum. I asked his permission and he agreed. Hereâ€™s his story:
At first, he said, the results of his PSA results of Activity surprised and concerned him. Everything he read about Activity exactly described behavior that he had been taught to suppress and control. Reading the Activity PS description made him worry that he had been unsuccessful in learning how to hold those â€˜badâ€™ behaviors in check. His great revelation: the reason he had been unsuccessful in ridding himself of those behaviors was because, at core, they were who he was. His great joy was that PST and Celebrate You were telling him that it was OK to be himself.
His anger as a teen arose from having his natural skills thwarted, undervalued, and/or ignored. His unhappiness and depression as an adult was due to his inability to stop suppressing his natural buoyancy and high energy level. He realized that he had kept who he really was deeply hidden from the world, and to a great extent, even from himself.
From a psychological perspective, his insight made perfect sense. In essence, the message he had received from his parents was, â€œDonâ€™t be you.â€ As humans, we are able to adapt our behavior to whatever is required of us, but the core of who one is, as expressed by their PS, cannot be changed. The inevitable conclusion most humans will come to when faced with such a dilemma is that there is something wrong with them, and that who they are is not OK. More simply stated, â€œI am not loveableâ€. The anger that an adolescent experiences from having his core being denied transforms into sadness and depression as he resigns himself to being a â€œresponsible adultâ€.
My clientâ€™s PSA results and Celebrate You gave him the permission he needed to celebrate who he really is.
His story made me wonder how many of us received similar messages in the service of molding us into â€œsuccessfulâ€ adults. How many of the 65+% of people who hate their jobs feel that way because their work allows them no expression of their natural skill set? How many people live their lives vaguely dissatisfied or unhappy for no apparent reason simply because their core being has been repressed? The answer to all three questions, I believe, is a much higher percentage than we know or suspect. Donâ€™t be part of that percentage. Celebrate You!
Lynda-Ross Vega: A partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., Lynda-Ross specializes in helping entrepreneurs and coaches build dynamite teams and systems that WORK. She is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary psychological assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their deepest potentials for success. For free information on how to succeed as an entrepreneur or coach, create a thriving business and build your bottom line doing more of what you love, visit www.YourTalentAdvantage.com.