As many of us have realized through COVID-19, our core relationships are very important to us, whether they are with parents, siblings, friends, or co-workers. What is puzzling, however, is that these relationships can often cause us the greatest stress. Personality Dimensions® gives us a lens to examine these important relationships and find ways to improve them.
One of the ways that a knowledge of Personality Dimensions® can be useful is by helping us understand that personalities can be quite different – even within the same family. It acknowledges that there are four different temperaments, and each has both strengths and challenges. Once we understand that people are not being difficult, rather they are behaving according to their innate preferences, it generally leads to a greater tolerance of difference. To show how this works, lets look at a mother-daughter relationships that had challenges. Amelie, a 19-year-old, has had a strained relationship with her mother since she became a teenager. Amelie thrives on variety and loves change in her life. She is very creative and is pursuing a Diploma in visual arts at a local community college. She is not quite sure where it will take her, but she is spontaneous, fun loving and likes to go with the flow. Her mother, Maria, seems almost the opposite. Maria is structured and orderly and likes to make life as predictable as possible. She is an excellent planner and believes that you should work first and then play. She loves her daughter tremendously but worries about her because she is disorganized and seems to let life happen to her rather than to plan for it. She also worries because Amelie seems willing to take more risks than she would like. She wonders how a visual arts certificate will ever lead her daughter to a nice secure job. Amelie for her part, often feels constrained by her mother’s “shoulds” and “oughts” and frequently feels that she cannot be herself around her mom.
A breakthrough came in their relationship when Amelie attended a Personality Dimensions® workshop as part of one of her community college courses. She realized that she was a Resourceful Orange and that her mother was very likely an Organized Gold. She took this knowledge back to her mother, explained the four dimensions, and her mother agreed with Amelie’s assessment. They had a good chat about both their similarities and differences, and recognized that they needed to be more tolerant of each other in the future. While they both realized they had a long way to go to rebuild their relationship, they felt that this was an important first step in understanding each other better.
Susan Geary PhD. is a Personality Dimensions® Master Trainer and co-author of two books on Personality Dimensions® – Colour Savvy: Helping you Achieve Success in your Work Life and Your Personality Unlocked: Living Life to its Fullest. She has over 30 years experience as a management and communication Skills facilitator, and training consultant. She has facilitated Personality Dimensions® workshops to over 1,000 participants in all walks of life. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.