Last week, I had a chance to reconnect with old friends. During our chat, we somehow ended up talking about Enneagram types and told me about this project by Sleeping at Last. Let’s just say that it was a song that rendered me speechless because I felt like someone who wasn’t me talked about everything that was me. (Video below)
Generally, 3s are known as the Achievers and are success-driven. Their basic fear is being worthless, and their basic desire is to feel valuable and worthwhile. I’m a textbook 3. We generally are very concerned about how people see us and so maintaining a desirable image is very important to us. The problem is that sometimes in our desire to make sure that everyone sees us in a certain way, the masks that we put on becomes so fixed, we can mistake it as our true face. Maybe that’s why this song resonated so deeply within me. I’ve always struggled with feeling “good enough” or having “done enough”. Growing up in an immigrant Asian family context probably doesn’t help with that. There’s a constant pressure to be excellent. Yet, the pursuit of excellence can often lead one to dark places caused by the isolation, despair and the emptiness that can often accompany the drive for success. It’s something I’ve had to struggle with. Of course, being in academia doesn’t help. No one cares about an average scholar. You have to be the best scholar. But to be the “best”, one must often sacrifice many things and too often, the first to be sacrificed is our self.
“Now I only want what’s real // To let my heart feel what it feels // Gold, silver, or bronze hold no value here // Where work and rest are equally revered” – these words haunt me. Maybe because I struggle to know what’s real .. or maybe I’m struggling to know what’s really important. I would like to get to that beautiful place where I could revere rest just as much as I revere work. It has been a challenge.
The daily performance is exhausting. The smile can often hide the pain and the emotional turmoil within. Yet, expressing honesty can sometimes feel like it is to no avail. Even when I’m honest about my feelings and what I’m going through, it’s hard not to feel like other people think that I’m a joke. And so one can often feel stuck. Trapped by my own masks, I must now lay in the bed I made for myself.
One day I will “finally see myself through the eyes of no one else” but mine. I am hoping for a better day when I will finally see myself through the eyes of God.