The Human Ecosystem and your individual strengths and weaknesses
I was recently introduced to the idea of the Human Ecosystem by Kara Loewentheil of the Unf*ckyourbrain podcast and I absolutely love the concept. I am a science nerd at heart and the idea really resonates with me. I have always struggled with accepting and learning to “love what is,” as Byron Katie would say, especially when it comes to the parts of myself and the people closest to me, that I don’t like.
The idea of the Human Ecosystem is that just as in nature, every person has their own ecosystem that is a delicate balance and is susceptible to being thrown off by any slight change in the balance. This Human Ecosystem is made exactly for them, everything in balance, and if you try to shift the balance by changing something about the human, you risk throwing the whole ecosystem out of whack.
So what this illustrates is that you can’t just love some parts of yourself and want other parts to change. You have to understand that the things you love about yourself are tied to the things you don’t love about yourself, but you cannot have one without the other. You have to learn to love what is.
Now don’t get me wrong, you can change. You can shift your mind and the way you look at things, i.e, your mindset. You can change your outlook on life and how you choose to let things affect you.
But there are some things about you that are just part of who you are, and you cannot change those parts without losing some of the great stuff about you. Everything that makes you YOU exists in a delicate, beautiful ecosystem that is unique to you and only you.
You have to love, nourish, and accept your ecosystem and give it all that it needs to flourish.
When you think about wanting to change yourself, it helps to look at your personality type and understand where your inherent strengths and weaknesses lie. Don’t fight it or change it, rather, use it to make a plan to help you move through those blocks and learn to love what is YOU.
If you haven’t read my post all about the Four Personality Types, go read it now and also take the Personality Purpose Quiz.
Loving what is
If you are an expressive, chances are you wish you were better at staying organized and staying on top of things. You may also wish (or people in your life may wish) you could get somewhere on time for a change, or maybe let someone else speak!?
I hear you, and I understand. We all wish we could crush a to-do list of 1000 items before lunch, and make it to school to pick up the kids 10 min early, and sit quietly while our friends recount their day so that they feel heard and loved.
All great things to strive for BUT chances are, if you are an expressive, you will never be the best at any of these, and that’s okay! You can get better at them, don’t get me wrong, but if you want to become a person who is always on time, organized, and quiet, well, you wouldn’t be you!
Expressives are endlessly positive and optimistic and are amazing at making friends and inspiring people. They can captivate and motivate others with their dazzling and exciting optimism. They are great at generating enthusiasm and momentum and are often very creative and colorful. They have an amazing ability to make anything fun and to make people laugh.
If you understand the concept of the ‘human ecosystem’ you will see that it is all a package deal; you cannot have one without the other. If you wanted to change your tardiness, you may also have to give up /end up giving up your creativity or your optimism and fun-loving spirit.
Chances are, if you are an Analytical you wish you could be more outgoing and relaxed. You probably also get accused of being too pessimistic and a bit too rigid. BUT, Analyticals are very deep and thoughtful, appreciative of beauty and intelligence. They are often very creative and inventive and are great with numbers and linear thinking. Analyticals are very thoughtful, (I would use another synonym for thoughtful here because you just used it) compassionate, and make great listeners.
What if changing your perfectionist, analytical nature resulted in losing your creativity, your passion for intelligence, or your ability to listen? I know it would be great to be more relaxed and outgoing (and it is possible to work on those areas), but know that it will never be your strength and don’t beat yourself up because you can’t be endlessly optimistic!
If you are a driver you may be wishing you were less pushy. (And your friends may be wishing this as well!) You also would probably like to be a bit better at attention to detail, or to be a better listener. Perhaps you would like to be better at relaxing and not feeling guilty for not working.
I hear you, as a Driver myself, I wish that I could just be quiet, calm, and patient; Zen even. BUT that is not me, and it never will be. I strive to be more patient, but I have to remember that it will never be one of my strengths.
Drivers Get. S*%t. Done. They are amazing at multi-tasking, at finding the best, quickest, and most straight forward way to accomplish any task. Drivers have amazing follow through and can always be counted on to complete a task
Again, I would challenge you (and myself) to ask yourself: What if the reason you are a bad listener is because you are so driven that you get sh*t done faster than anyone else? What if losing your pushiness means losing your ability to inspire and lead? What if they were all connected?
If you are an amiable you probably wish you could be more enthusiastic, more driven, and STOP procrastinating so much! I am sure people in your life have encouraged you to get out and do stuff, or to “leave the house this month.” I know it seems like it would be a good thing if you could just be a little more outgoing and driven, and it’s a great goal to have, (I am all for getting out of the house), BUT you will never be the person who goes out without a push, and that’s okay!
What makes you YOU, is that you are amazingly flexible, calm, and can always go with the flow. Amiables are great at making friends and are very agreeable. Amiables are very patient and well balanced. They are great at holding their tongue and staying calm, even when provoked. This makes them great administrators, mediators and leaders. Their ability to get along with everyone and stay calm is invaluable.
What if your procrastination and your patience and balance were all tied together? And changing one would change it all.
What you should understand is You can’t change one part of you without throwing off all the other parts too. You have to love the whole ecosystem. Look at the parts of you that you dislike and wish you could change, and see them as part of your whole ecosystem. You don’t have to love those things about you, but at least look at and appreciate how the parts that you don’t like are intimately tied to the parts that you do.
“It’s all part of the same human ecosystem. The things you love are intimately connected to the ones you wish you could change. Changing only the small things you don’t like and keeping what you do is not an option. Your options are to love the whole human ecosystem or don’t, and you get to choose.”UFYB 101: The Human Ecosystem UnF*ck Your Brain with Kara Loewentheil
I would also encourage you to look at your family, your workplace, even your romantic relationships as an ecosystem as well, with their own perfect balance. Each person brings something to the table, and with that comes some conflict but also great cooperation and unity. Changing some things will result in throwing off the balance. You can’t just change the few things you like about your community, your work, your friends circle, your family.
You have to love what is. By accepting and loving all of the parts of you, your partner, your boss, your child, you can be completely in charge of your feelings. When you hate something and want to change it you are believing external circumstances can cause your feelings, which makes you a victim.
You are in control of your feelings, not external circumstances, and if you allow external circumstances to be in control of your feelings, then you are not in control of your own life.
You can certainly improve yourself and become less anxious, bossy, impatient; but you must love the whole ecosystem of you to be able to do that.
If you are fueled by hate or dislike, you will not be able to make those changes in yourself and you will never see the good in others. If are fueled by love, you will see that we are all part of our own unique ecosystems; each part intimately connected to the other. And that is beautiful, fun, and unpredictable.