Feb. 14, 2023

Why It's Important to Know Our Scripts

EPISODE 65                         

Without identifying the scripts that influence our behaviour without our awareness, we would be unable to come into deeper self-knowledge of who we truly are. 

In this episode I share why our scripts can affect our ability to know our real selves, including impacting the accuracy of instruments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) and Motivation Code (MCODE™).

Share this episode via this episode page.

(00:00:17) - Introduction
(00:05:25) - Is this part of My Personality or a Trauma Response?
(00:10:26) - How do we know what is part of Our Personas or Our True Selves?
(00:10:48) - 1. Awareness of our Scripts
(00:13:01) - 2. Notice How You Feel – Does it Feel Natural?
(00:14:42) - How Effortlessly do we Live?
(00:16:31) - What has been Driving our Lives?
(00:23:56) - PRAXIS: Listen. Ponder. Act
(00:25:43) - Conclusion
Available here.

Available here.

- As you listened to my sharing in this episode, was there anything that resonated with you?

- Think about what your script might be.
- Who's the person that you feel you need to be?

-  List down the adjectives that would describe the person that you feel you have to be.

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A lot of times what we think are our personalities are actually our personas. Okay, as in they are more a reflection of the scripts, that we have picked up in our life than they are a reflection of our true self.  

Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host Ann Yeong and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life, and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax, and listen on to Becoming Me. 

[00:00:53] Hello again, dear listeners. Okay, so tonight, I'd like to talk about scripts in particular. Okay, why is it that it's important for us to come to awareness of what these scripts are, that kind of like run our life without us knowing? One way of thinking about scripts is, you know, by the time we make an intentional decision to make this interior journey to become a more authentic person, to become more integrated – by the time we come to this point in our life, we would already have been kind of like living our life in a certain way, striving to be a certain kind of person – or even if you're not the kind of person that strive you may feel that, you know, you're laid back, easy-going.

 [00:01:48] And a lot of times we think of these as our personalities, right? Like, oh, I'm just a very easy-going person. I just go along with what's important to people. I'm okay with anything. A lot of times what we think are our personalities are actually our personas. 

 [00:02:06] Okay, as in they are more a reflection of the scripts that we have picked up in our life, than they are a reflection of our true self. Dr. Gabor Maté who is a Hungarian-Canadian physician, who does a lot of work on trauma – he said this before; that a lot of what we think is our personality is actually made up of a lot of our trauma responses. 

[00:02:33] They're not necessarily, you know, unchanging traits in our nature. A lot of what we think is our personality could actually be just reactions, responses that we have learned to survive from the wounding and the hurts that we had in our life. So – and he has a point.

 [00:02:54] He has a point. Even, you know – this is just my take. I mean, my take when I heard him say that – because I do work with instruments like the Myers Briggs and the Motivation Code. I use them to help clients have a better handle on, you know, what's the design that God has given them, right?

 [00:03:12] So, it is a very important consideration for me to make. Do these instruments – are they actually effective in helping my clients or helping, you know, all of us have a better, accurate sense of who we are? Or are they also just measuring our trauma responses? Like, are they reflecting to us our coping mechanisms instead of, you know, underlying patterns and traits in what motivates us or in the way the way we perceive the world or the way we make judgments. 

[00:03:42] So, this is an interesting thing. The creators of those instruments, like Myers Briggs and Motivation Code – they don't really take into consideration the application of these instruments in the cases of, let's say, you know, someone who has complex trauma. Because for one thing, something like complex trauma – let's say developmental trauma, you know, wounding in our relational self that has caused us to maybe act a certain way, learn to relate to people a certain way – these are relatively recent developments. And the instrument, Myers Briggs, for example, is 70 years old. And the Motivation Code, since its inception – before it was called Motivation Code – has been also about 50 years. 

[00:04:26] And generally, these instruments are meant to be used in mentally sound, and mentally healthy adults, right? So, that's a given. But I think what is often not taken into consideration – just because we don't realize what a big impact it actually makes – is this thing about, well, the scripts that we have, the coping mechanisms that we have in otherwise highly functioning, mentally healthy people, right? 

[00:04:54] I mean, you know, you and I, we walk around – most of us may not be suffering from any specific diagnosable mental illness. But we all have some kind of trauma. We all, have learned how to survive and how to, you know, best to maybe even to try and thrive. And so, these things can affect the results of instruments like Myers Briggs and the Motivation Code. 

In fact, I have seen this in my own life when I was younger, and I did the Myers Briggs once when – the official instrument with the workshop and everything – once when I was in undergrad and I was typed an ENFJ. Okay, so it's all right if, if you're not familiar with the Myers Briggs, but that's a particular type and it's a – you know, in that description of the type, I'm somebody who is planful, likes to plan ahead, tends to be organized. 

[00:05:56] The way I interact with the world is an organized manner, you know, not so – not necessarily so spontaneous, for example. But then after I started – well, after I deepened in my healing journey, right, and I became more free to be myself and less inhibited and trying less hard to, you know, to be the person that I always felt I needed to be. 

[00:06:23] I realized that I was not an ENFJ. I was actually an ENFP. So, where that difference is – from a J to a P – ENFP is a lot more free- spirited, spontaneous, adaptable. But also that usually means that I'm less organized, a lot more – I guess, innovative and creative. But also in my script – so, now I'm referring to my script – in the way that I've grown up believing this is a less good kind of personality because it's very, very important to be organized and to be planful and, you know, to plan things way ahead, in advance and not be last minute. I have somehow embraced at certain value that, you know – certain traits have almost like a higher moral value, you know – instead of it's just being different.

 [00:07:16] I have adopted that sense. I've assumed that one way of being. So, for example, being very organized is always better than, you know, being kind of like spontaneous and kind of flying by the seat and just being open to inspiration and sometimes being more last minute or, you know, working hard only when you approach a deadline. 

[00:07:42] Like, for me that – what I just described – all that is always worse than being organized. Now, clearly, life is not so straightforward. There are circumstances and context in which being one way would probably be more effective or more helpful than the other, right? Sometimes, perhaps being spontaneous and adaptable when things suddenly change – that would actually work better. 

[00:08:09] But I had been frozen. I had kind of like been frozen into a certain belief that being a certain way is more acceptable, more praiseworthy. So, as it turns out, that way of being – right, of being a more organized person; always being more planful, always having all kinds of contingencies planned. What I believed was the better one turned out to not actually be my natural preference. 

[00:08:40] Okay, so the result of my Myers Briggs actually changed. Does it mean that my personality changed? Mm, on the outside – yes. In fact, I would say that my behaviour actually changed. But when you look a little deeper, I would say it's not that my personality actually changed or that my temperament changed, but that because of the interior journey, I became liberated to just be myself. 

[00:09:08] So, in a deeper sense, I think I was always an ENFP, but when I was younger, I rejected that about myself, right? I kind of like forced myself to be in a different way because that different way got me more affirmation, more rewards. You know, it just – it just worked better for me to feel appreciated or seen.  

[00:09:36] So many of the – I guess, the achievements that I had when I was younger, as a girl, had to do with being responsible, had to do with exercising or showing leadership. And then also, you know, in being neat and being organized, right? And that was very, very much affirmed by my mother, who is very, very organized. 

[00:09:58] So, she trained me very well and I picked up on that and I was often rewarded for being that. So, I hope you catch what I'm saying, which is that even something like temperament and personality, right – that what makes that up, or what can be measured by instruments like the Myers Briggs and the Motivation Code. Sometimes, what is picked up is our coping mechanism. Sometimes, what is picked up is what nurture has trained us to do, right? 

So, how do we know if what is picking up is who we are – like, kind of the natural self that we are, that maybe we have not yet been able to let out and accept. Or if it's actually measuring, you know, kind of like the, the person that we feel we need to be – so, the persona that we've developed.  

So, over time in using these instruments with my clients, I've realized that there's something that makes a big difference in terms of the accuracy of these instruments. And which means also, the effectiveness and the usefulness of these instruments for my clients in their journey into knowing themselves better – and that is if they can become aware. 

[00:11:13] At least begin to be aware of what their scripts are, which is what are the compulsions that drive them in any moment when they're in a challenging situation – what do they automatically default to because they feel that they need to be a certain kind of person, right? So, there's a script that kind of like dictates how they act.

 [00:11:37] If they become aware of that script – because we all have scripts, but most of the time we are just not aware that we are acting out of those scripts. We are not aware that we're acting out of our coping mechanisms, for example. But when we make what is unconscious or subconscious, conscious – when we bring it out into their awareness and they can begin to see the picture of, oh yeah. You know, this is the person that I've always felt I needed to be. 

[00:12:06] And for everyone that's different, right? You could list a whole list of what that person looks like, how this person should act under pressure, or maybe, for example – the one who is always able to make peace when there's conflict, or the one who is always responsible, or the one who is always patient that will never lose their cool. Okay, so, these are just some examples of descriptors that can appear in someone's script when they start identifying the person that they feel they need to be.

 [00:12:35] And then, if they can take another step and start thinking how or when did I learn, somehow, that this is how I should be, right. And then sometimes that will surface – oh, because you know, that was what my parent always taught me. Or when I was younger, such-and-such a thing happened and then I got this drilled, somehow, into me, that this is important – this is important; that I be this kind of a person, right?  

Once we identify that there are these energies, or there are these pressure points that they're not aware of, that's actually moulding them in, you know, to act a certain way, then we can look at – when I say we, as in, you know, my clients and I – we can look at when you are acting in this way; the person that you have to be, you know, how much of it actually feels natural?

 [00:13:29] It feels like you're at ease. It feels like, you know, this is who you really are. Or is it that I have to exert force and pressure for me to be that way? Now, that's a very big clue as to, you know, whether or not it's likely that the personality that they're exhibiting or the traits that they are exhibiting – sometimes, very strongly in their adult life – whether that is a coping mechanism or whether that's really who they are. Because it's almost always true, all these different instruments, you know – and even other ones.

 [00:14:08] When someone is acting out of, let's say their nature or what is their natural preference or their natural giftedness, there is always a sense of ease, a sense of flow. There's always this kind of feeling that, you know, this is effortless.

 [00:14:25] Right, because I'm just being – I'm being myself. I'm being the person and acting in a way that I was gifted to be. I'm using, for example, the cognitive preferences that I have. I'm not actually having to stretch myself to use what I don't prefer, to use what I'm weaker in. 

You know, we all use what we are gifted in with greater ease. And when we do this kind of exercise and we identify what the scripts are, You know, so often my clients realize – I mean, I realize when I went through this – just how effortful or effortfully I've been leading my life. Because by and large, I've always been leading my life by trying to be a certain kind of person with no regard as to whether or not that's who God created me to be. 

 [00:15:13] Right, so, there's a lot of effort always being exerted to try and meet a certain standard or try to fit a certain mould of a certain ideal person – or ideal leader, ideal wife, ideal daughter, ideal Catholic. You know, all the different hats that I have had to wear – or last time when I was younger, maybe the ideal student leader. 

[00:15:37] And amidst all of that, I rarely felt grounded, anchored, rooted, rested in just knowing this is just who I am. Now, everyone who is on this interior journey – because we long for greater authenticity and wholeness – we would all come from that place where we are tired because we realized that we've been striving so hard to, you know, to live life well – maybe to be a good person.

 [00:16:09] But yet it's so tiring because we find at the end of the day, we still don't really know who we are. We're not confident in who we are. And despite our best efforts, we still end up maybe, upsetting people, offending people, disappointing people. We still end up failing the standards that we set for ourselves, right. 

So, the process of this interior journey, of coming into our true self, is also a process of awakening – kind of like waking up from slumber. And part of waking up from slumber is to now become aware of what has unconsciously or subconsciously been driving our lives like, the entire time. Now, I don't know – for those of you who are listening to me right now, listening to me say all this – whether you are even aware of just how much energy you expend every day, just you know, using your coping mechanisms – that you're just acting out of your trauma responses.  

[00:17:11] Because so many of them would be automatic by now. And unless you are in a space that you feel emotionally safe, that you can really rest and be yourself, usually – and that's rare, right? – Usually even in our homes, we don't really feel emotionally safe. And we may not even realize that because it's been the norm for us for so long – maybe our whole lives, especially if we're still staying with our families of origin. 

[00:17:37] The dynamics that we have with our family members probably are the same dynamics that were there since we were children. So, it doesn't matter if we've grown up and we're now adults – we're adult children instead of, you know, teenage children. You'll find that by and large, the dynamics in the family remain the same, especially with families where there are certain roles that each member takes and they always need to play that role. Those roles are kind of rigid, even if everybody gets older – or even when everybody gets older. 

 [00:18:08] That's one of the traits of dysfunctions. I mean, there's one of the signs of dysfunctions in a family, you know – where we are rigidly entrenched in our roles. Now, if that describes us, right, that we are always kind of like fixed certain roles, that would mean that most of the time, we're acting our roles. We are playing to a script – maybe not even just our individual script, but to a family script or to an organizational script, you know?

 [00:18:34] We're always playing a role. And if we're just playing a role, we can't really tell how much of that is actually us – like, naturally gifted to us, and how much of that is trauma – well, the effect of trauma, right. And so, that is why, in my signature program, Clarity, we always begin – right, the first part, the first third of the program is helping the client to come to awareness of the scripts that are running their life and help them to identify, you know, and describe the person that they have to be, right – a person that they have to be.

 [00:19:23] Because until they can see who is this person that they're constantly striving to act as, that they're striving to be – this ideal that they've been pursuing – until they can see that, they're not going to realize if, when they go, later on, into trying to identify their motivational design and into, let's say, their cognitive preferences, their temperament and personality – they're not going to be able to identify, when they answer questions in those assessments. 

[00:19:53] For example, when they choose the stories that will be used in those assessments, if they are reflecting that persona that they've learned to portray, or if it's actually reflecting the real self that they are. And for most people, they've been so married to the persona that they've developed, that without a little bit more work – without a little bit more help, they actually have a hard time telling the two apart. 

[00:20:25] As in, they have a hard time telling apart the persona and their real self. And this has happened quite many times as well. I mean, I was surprised at first, at how many times this happened, where a client actually could accurately, you know, through the instruments of, let's say, Motivation Code and MBTI – we managed to come to what would've been accurate description of who they are. Like a – you know – if the assessment is accurate, right? – They can say, yes; actually, I realize this is the real me. But then they keep trying to justify, that somehow, that's not who they want to be. I don't know if you get me – as in, even as they can acknowledge that the assessments like the MBTI or the MCODE is actually picking up correctly, accurately, their true traits because that has been true about them since they're young. 

[00:21:18] And they can even identify that actually it's true that that's when they feel alive, when things are flowing. And still, for some of my clients, they try and justify why that's not really who they are or that's not who they want to be. It's like it's so ingrained in them, sometimes, that these traits are not good. You know that these traits are emerging from our process to finding out who they really are – that these traits are not good – so that they have trouble accepting this about themselves 

[00:21:55] Right, of course not everyone's like that. There are some clients also who are delighted when they see this because they go, oh, well that makes so much sense – no wonder I've always, you know, felt this way because now I know this is who I am. Right, this is true. It's true, right? And no wonder I've felt stressed and unhappy when for so long, I've been trying to be somebody that I'm not.

 [00:22:13] Yeah, so, it can go either way. You know, I've seen so many of either responses. But either way, it shows that the scripts that we have in our life has a huge impact on us and it's so important that we begin to identify, unearth these scripts. Now, scripts are not in themselves bad, okay? For one, a lot of us, we develop these scripts to survive when we were much younger – to be seen to feel some degree of attachment, degree of acceptance, right? It's still not – it's not the best thing because we yearn for authenticity, right? And if we're just acting and living out of scripts, I mean, they may help us in the short term. But in the long term, none of us can become fully alive if we're just living out of our scripts. 

[00:23:06] And when we become aware of what our scripts are, it doesn't necessarily mean that then we never live out of those scripts. But we wear them more lightly, you know? And we become aware when we maybe, are switching them on. We know we can have a choice. We actually become more aware that we have a choice – whether or not to act out of that script or not. 

[00:23:27] You know, it's kind of like the first episode that I did for this year – we learned how to have boundaries with our scripts because we realized that those scripts are not our true self. There may be, under certain stressful times, or stressful environments, or you know – that some of our old scripts may be called up and activated. But they are not us.  

[00:23:45] And knowing that that's not us and knowing, you know, having a clearer sense of who we are, that we are distinct from our scripts – that itself is growth and freedom, right?  

So, I invite you, for the Praxis for this episode, to maybe ponder on what your scripts might be or what your script might be. One way of thinking about it would be – maybe the easier way to think about it would be, how would you describe the person that you often feel you have to be? What adjectives would you use? Okay, so I guess this is kind of like a combination of Ponder and Act.  

[00:24:28] You know, usually, my praxis prompts would be; one would be Listen – what resonates with you from what you've heard in this episode. And two would be to Ponder – and I'm inviting you to ponder what your script might be. Who's the person that you feel you need to be.

 [00:24:40] And then really for step three – for Act, I would invite you to take some time and take pen and paper and start listing down the adjectives that would describe the person that you feel you have to be.

 [00:24:58] Maybe sometimes it's helpful when you think of it in a particular context. So, for example, let's say you're a mother, and being a mother is a very big role in your life, right? – It takes up a lot of your time and your energy. Maybe you can ask yourself, so what's the person I feel I need to be as a mother? 

[00:25:15] Right, it's just having a concrete role to begin this reflection on, is often helpful – so, it's not just too abstract – and just list all that down. And then you have the beginnings, right? – The beginnings of the picture of what your script may look like.  

[00:25:33] Okay, so, I hope that you've enjoyed this episode and until the next time, I wish you happy becoming. 

[00:25:43] CONCLUSION
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me, where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays of the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direction. No matter how small those steps might be, and no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin. The world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive. 

[00:26:15] Don't forget to visit my website at becomingmepodcast.com and to subscribe to my newsletter, as well as to this podcast. Until the next episode. Happy becoming!