Friday, December 19, 2008

Strengths and Archetypes

I've been thinking about strengths and archetypes. Carolyn Myss talks about archetypes in her book The Sacred Contract. She says we all have 12 archetypes, four of these are the same for everybody and 8 are unique to us. The archetypes aren't good or bad -- they can be expressed differently. There is a shadow side to each and a possible benefit. For example, one of the universal archetypes is the Victim. This does not mean you will experience being a victim necessarily, that is the shadow side. An example from her book is of a woman who was an expert in finances and who was exhibiting the positive expression, almost an anti-victim.

Angeles Arrien's also talks about archetypes in her book The Four-Fold Way. She talks about the 4 universal archetypes Warrior, Visionary, Teacher, and Healer. When an individual is in balance they experience the positive aspects of each. When an individual or community is not in balance they may experience the shadow side.

What is the connection between strengths and archetypes? When I did the Strengthfinder 2.0 test one of my strengths identified was being a Maximizer. This did not surprise me. When I experience the shadow side of this "strength", I may be a little obsessive or even perfectionistic. This means there is not a lot of flexibility available. However, if I am highly conscious and able to experience acceptance, this strength can work for me. I naturally see the highest potential for any person, project or situation. Without acceptance, this is challenging. Without discrimination this is challenging. When I bring consciousness to this, I realize that while I may see the maximimum potential I don't have to reach it all the time.

To remind myself I put notes around my office that say - Do as little as possible! Do the minimum. This raises my consciousness and I recognize my automatic projections of what the maximum could be. It isn't advisable or healthy to do the maximum all the time. It is exhausting. Sometimes good enough is good enough. Reminding myself of this allows me to stay out of the shadow side of the maximizer strength. What do you think?

Cassandra at

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