This past weekend at Choices was about Colors. Like Myers Briggs, Eneagrams and other personality typing programs, Colors provides a snapshot of an individuals core personality traits and the role they play in how we act/react in life. Understanding color types and how they relate provides valuable insight that can help improve relationships dramatically.
While not a definitive guide to 'why' we are the way we are (family of origin, environment, etc. play a significant role), understanding our colors, does help us understand our core motivators.
In Color typing, there are four colors: Blue (heart-driven people. Everything comes from the heart, goes to the heart. These are the care-givers, harmony-makers of the world). Green (Thinkers. Idea-generators. Wisdom-seekers. These are the inventors, the problem-solvers). Orange (people people. Impulse driven. Excitement seekers/makers. These are the innovators, risk-takers). Gold (Organizers. Logical. Pattern-seekers. Golds are the doers. Count on them to bring the band-aids and the Kool-aid to a picnic).
My primary color is Green. Orange and Blue are tied for second place and gold comes last. For me, that means give me a problem and I look for information to understand it. I scurry into my head to make sense of it, to figure it out, before I'll risk looking stupid by giving a wrong answer. If I do think I'm wrong, I'll spend an inordinate amount of time trying to prove I'm right -- I mean, really. I checked my facts. I know what I'm talking about. How can I be wrong? Dig deep into my psyche and you'll find my core tape of: You think you're so smart. You're stupid.
Knowing my colors has given me an awesome gift in relationship with my daughters. My eldest daughter is primary Blue. The youngest Orange. No wonder the same answer/response doesn't work for both! They process information completely differently.
When she was a child, Alexis always needed at least half an hour to prepare herself for a change in venue. Whatever she was doing, she attached her heart to the process, to the events, to the people involved. To ensure transitions went smoothly, I needed to prepare her, to give her time to complete what she was doing, close-off loose ends of conversation etc. At 21, she continues to lead with her heart and she still needs time to transition from one state to the next.
Liseanne on the other hand, with her primary Orange on full-speed at all times, was quite happy to leave whatever she was doing to do something else. She was bored with it anyway. Change is great! Today, Liseanne is a lightbulb of energy on the go. She's up to taking on any new challenge. Hey! Life's awaiting. Let's get it on.
Every time I take the Colors workshop, I deepen my knowledge of who I am, how I relate to people (or not) and why I do some of the things I do. As a green woman, the complexity of my behavioural responses is impacted by society's belief, women are care-givers, nurturers -- that is not my first state of being. Becoming a mother definitely enhanced my blue -- but it's not my natural response.
Greens are fond of quoting Sir Francis Bacon's statement written in 1597 in "Religious Meditations Of Heresies", Knowledge is power. When one of the participants said that this weekend, I wondered, Is that true? Is knowledge really power? Or, is the power in what we do with our knowledge? Knowledge is ultimately, information transitioning to wisdom. It is an inert force until we put it into action.
As a green, I value information. I learn about people and places, things and objects by observing, gathering info and processing it. I don't tend towards rapid judgements of people and situations. I lean towards understanding first. Decision-making second. Now, this can be my strength. It can also be my weakness.
When I was with Conrad, I had tons of information about his behaviour. Oodles and oodles of experience with his lies. I did nothing.
After he was arrested and I began to research personality disorders, I became knowledgeable about who he was, what he did, how he did what he did, and the impact of his disorder on me. I still didn't have change, however. Change came when I took my focus off knowledge seeking and became actively involved in deepening my knowledge base not through more information, but through application of my wisdom in my daily life.
The first time I participated in the Colors workshop, I left the room, buzzing. I had discovered a piece of information that made sense to the one question I couldn't answer about my relationship with Conrad. Why did I stay? I knew he was lying. I knew he was manipulating me. I knew my life was a lie. Why did I stay? The darkside of green is inaction. I didn't leave Conrad because I wanted to know the truth, and thus convinced myself the only way to get it was to keep looking for answers, to keep trying to make sense of his nonsense. As I dug deeper and deeper I slid further and further into inertia, into the quagmire of inaction masquerading as a quest for truth. To leave meant I had made a mistake. And mistakes are stupid. I hate looking stupid.
I left the Colors workshop that Sunday and wanted to process what I had learned. I got in my car, turned my cell phone on and it immediately rang. It was Alexis. In tears. Someone very close to her had been killed in a car accident that afternoon. She needed me.
I thought about what I needed to do: process the information I had acquired that day. I thought about my daughter and her need for her mother.
Knowing my colors gave me the courage to do the right thing. I had fifteen minutes to drive home. Fifteen minutes to process what I could of the weekend before I needed to walk through my front door and be completely present for my daughter so that I could be the mother she needed. The mother she counted on to help her in her grief.
I chose wisely. I had the knowledge that gave me the power to turn up, for me and for those I love, so that I could create more of what I want in my life. A world of harmony. A world in which I respect myself and treat everyone around me with respect.
I cannot heal or change what I do not acknowledge.
In the past, I have been physically present with my daughters while in my head I've been busy working out problems, ideas, notions....
On that day, I used my fifteen minute drive to color code the information I'd gathered in my head. I tucked it away for future reference so that I could consciously walk into my daughters arms and hold her in my heartfelt embrace where she was safe to feel her grief.
Being in my heart is not my habit. I'm comfortable in my head. Comfortable thinking and thinking and thinking. As one friend said to me long ago, "Louise, the most dangerous neighbourhood for you to spend time in alone is your head after dark." So true!
When I light my thinking with love, I move with grace, ease and dignity through my day. When I consciously think of what I am trying to create, and then let my heart guide me into taking the steps towards my goal, I am present in my life -- body, spirit, mind.
May you live your day with body, spirit, mind aligned with the joy of knowing, you are all that you are meant to be in love.
NOTE: If you are interested in taking a colors quiz, visit: http://www.truecolorscareer.com/ . The book, Living Your Colors: Practical Wisdom for Life, Love, Work, and Play, by Tom Maddron, is a powerful guide to colors and their relationships on the wheel of colors.