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Ellen Dreezens: What does your allergy teach you about yourself?

Some people will never be your friend. Others make you feel livid within seconds. This blog is about where such an allergy to certain types of people comes from. And how you can understand and maybe reduce these kinds of allergies. The most important question however is: what does your allergy tell you about yourself?

Truth is: you are allergic to the things you are not good at yourself. How does that work? Let me explain:

Imagine, you are a very modest person. You always first check if someone else has something to say, before you speak your mind. You don’t want to stand in the spotlight, and you feel that it is best if people do their jobs quietly. If we translate this into core-quadrant language (bear with me), we learn interesting things. Your quality (modesty) translates into one of your downsides (invisibility), which is the opposite of your challenge (presenting oneself), which translates into an allergy (arrogance). Core quadrants in this way show what you are good at, what you could improve, and which kinds of people you don’t appreciate (the very arrogant ones!!). Good stuff, these core quadrants! Lets put this into a picture…

Ellen Dreezens: What does your allergy teach you about yourself?

So, this picture shows the following idea: if you are a modest person, too much modesty (invisibility) is your pitfall. It is easy for you to become (too) invisible, so that is something that you need to work at. In order to do that, you need to challenge yourself to present yourself better. But too much of that, presenting yourself too enthusiastically, is experienced as arrogance. That is your allergy. You don’t like arrogant people, because they have too much of what you don’t have. It is kind of jealousy mixed in with irritation that results in an allergy.

Think about it. Think about someone that irritates you (for me that’s people that don’t make decisions). Could that be because you lack what they have too much of (in my case: patience)? Oh, there we go! For me this is very true. And that means that for me, to become a ‘better’ person, I could borrow some of what they have too much of. If I would become more patient, that would really work well with my determination. That would make me an easier person to be around.

So: if you get annoyed by some people, that immediately tells you what you could do to improve yourself. Does your lazy colleague irritate you? Maybe that’s because you need some flexibility (laziness can be seen as too much flexibility). Do you hate people that always talk too loud? Maybe that means that you need to speak up more. What I like most about this theory is that it gives you an opportunity to first smirk at people who have characteristics that trigger your allergy, but then after some smirking-time, you have to take responsibility to think about what that tells you about yourself. That’s a win-win situation if you ask me!