I have been rereading a book entitled The Me I Want to Be. In it, the author addresses our personal nemesis, and you can see them in the mirror. That played through my head, reminding me of a Marvel Comics event where several characters were inverted from selfless to selfish. It is actually deeper than that, and when I was done poking around, I found it explained a lot.
Your nemesis is the twisted version of you, with all your strengths, but gone wrong. The author suggested looking into the enneagram to find your type. It is an enlightening tool that points to a picture of a possible best version of you, what growth looks like, what deterioration looks like, and what you look like at your worst. A word of caution: it is a diagnostic tool, not a way of life. Use it in conjunction with other self-assessment tools like the Briggs-Meyer Personality test. Pool the results, follow the evidence to where the weight of it points, ask friends what you missed, and see what the reasonable conclusion is.
I was way off in one area of personal assessment until I took a test and it all clicked together. So much so I could see the course of my life reflected in it as an overview. According to the test, I fall into the Reformer category – rational, idealistic, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic, according to the summary. Introduce stress and at a certain point, usually when my introvert battery is low, I get moody and irrational. Introduce enough and I become a soul-seeking individualist, which comes with its own strengths and problems, mainly a preoccupation with being different at the expense of everything else. Been there, done that, the finger I point is at my mirror.
Take away the stress, add immaturity in its place, and my real nemesis is revealed. He has exacting standards that he’s afraid he can’t live up to, though that doesn’t stop him from judging others because they don’t meet his expectations. His worst sins is something that God Himself hates; it’s the prideful overestimation of himself, and the underestimation of others, making him self-righteous. Inside, he’s insecure, terrified of not being good enough, and does not take correction well.
At his worst, he is an OCD vampire who drains people with his arrogance, never satisfied with how people do anything. He has a solution for everything and is unafraid to tell you. Any nobleness in calling others to be better is twisted into making him feel superior to others. This person is ME at my worst. I know my enemy, I was him for years, and the thought of him showing his face again worries me. I will get into that with the next post.
The issue is one of focus; outward for others or inward for yourself. Are we walking through life as an asset to others, or benefitting ourselves at the expense of others? Defining it further, do our actions as individuals fall into three motivations: gaining power over others, gaining money at the expense of others, or simply to get your jollies off?
Ask yourself that. Ask any of your friends who will be honest with you and know you well enough to tell you the truth.
What is the worst version of yourself?
What are you going to do about it?
How will you go about it?
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
There is in the next post.
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