B. Intrinsic Characteristics
1. Forgiveness. Forgiveness is the ability to cease feeling resentment towards another. This definition does not include telling someone that they are forgiven. There is disagreement as to which personality type utilizes this trait more. Most studies connect it to vengeance, believing that vengeful people are less likely to forgive. But forgiveness helps lift the chains that keep you from moving forward.
Type D personalities use forgiveness in multiple ways. The anticipation and caution traits deal with protecting oneself against future risks, which is also an underlying element of forgiveness, i.e., protecting oneself. D-types are agreeable and dislike conflict, which is also a part of forgiveness. Another connection is that forgiveness is a fundamental law of most religions. This is a part of the observant trait. Because of these multiple connections, forgiveness forms a dominate trait of Type D personalities.
David Luke Brown is a police officer in Greencastle, Indiana. He was shot by a thief and returned fire, injuring the shooter. While waiting for the ambulance, he forgave the shooter and tended to the shooter’s injuries. The forgiveness trait is shared by the vast majority of police officers.
Steve McDonald was a police officer who was shot by a teenager that left him paralyzed. Officer McDonald forgave the boy. While the teenager was serving his prison sentence, the two worked together to promote forgiveness.
Mary Johnson’s son was murdered. When the shooter was released from prison, he moved in next door to Mary, because she had forgiven him.
While Jesus was dying on the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Practice forgiving. Start out forgiving someone of a minor problem. Find a quiet place where you are alone. Close your eyes and say out loud. “I forgive you for…..” Be specific so that you acknowledge what it was that hurt you. Say it three times. Try to make sure that you mean it. Then wait a few days and repeat the same forgiveness. Observe how you feel. This observation is very important. It reinforces the reward or benefit to you personally. If you can call this person and talk about anything without feeling hurt or angry, you have successfully forgiven them. Repeat this process a month later on another hurtful situation and each time take on a more serious transgression.
The only thing you have to lose is your own stress.
2. Agreeable. This means a willingness to do something or consent to something. The agreeable trait defines someone who is cooperative, polite, kind, and friendly. Even something as simple as giving examples is helpful.
Most playgrounds have teeter totters. It takes two people of similar weights to play at one time. Typically there is a line of kids waiting their turn. Kids who peacefully wait in line for their turn are exhibiting the agreeable trait.
Getting in line or queue is ubiquitous in all societies. This is a classic example of how D-types have made their mark on society.
The agreeable trait has a tendency to make nice friendly agreeable people blend into the background. The musical “Chicago” by John Kander and Fred Ebb presents the classic example of this trait with the character known as Mr. Cellophane brilliantly played by John C. Reilly. Everyone needs to see this musical to have a front row seat in understanding the “agreeable trait.”
3. Self-Compassion. Self-compassion is the same thing as being compassionate to others, but instead of being directed at other people, it is turned inward and directed at one’s self. It is similar to the caution trait which is aimed at protection of self. Self-compassion is the ability to understand and accept who you are and to love yourself. It requires knowledge of psychology and an understanding of emotions. Type D people are more apt to know when their mind is creating negative thoughts and to implement techniques for handling them. Negative thoughts are almost always based on false premises. Here are a few techniques to help you understand them:
Recognize. The first thing you need to do is recognize your negative thoughts. This is not always easy, but there are some clues that can help. If your mind says that it’s crystal clear that you screwed up, this is false – nothing is ever crystal clear. If your mind is saying it’s a yes or no situation, it is most likely a negative thought. If you personalize something that someone said as being directed at you, it’s most likely a negative thought. If you perceive only the negative side of a situation and nothing positive, it is a negative thought. There are always positive things out of every situation. The easiest of them all to identify is the cataclysmic consequence. There are no cataclysmic situations. The world did not end from a nuclear holocaust, every climate change cataclysmic prediction failed to occur, the Heaven’s Gate world destruction prediction did not occur, the end of the Mayan calendar had no effect, etc.
Evaluate. The next step is to evaluate you negative thoughts. This too is difficult, since negative thoughts are generated in your head. There is a tendency to validate what is in your mind as opposed to invalidate it. But remember, almost all negative thoughts are false. Think about the other negative thoughts you have had and what actually happened. The world did not end, you did not die, your friends are still your friends, etc. If your team did not win because you did not wear our lucky shirt, think about all the times you wore your lucky shirt and the team did not win. Here is where common sense is an effective tool.
Having bad or naughty thoughts has no connection to the real world. Those thoughts are normal. Often you can connect the negative thought to someone or something that invoked the guilt trip.
Divert. There are many techniques to divert attention to something else. Here are a few suggestions:
Think of 10 positive things you did today. Be as specific as possible. If you cannot think of anything, think a little harder. Did you make your bed? Did you brush your teeth? Did you smile? Why did you smile? Did you make breakfast? How many people in the world can’t do that? Did you clean the counter? Ten positive things are easy. There is a high probability that by the time you list 10 things, the negative thoughts will have passed.
Reduce your time on social media outside of your immediate family by 10 minutes each day until you are down to 30 minutes per day maximum. Research has shown that social media is a trigger to many negative thoughts.
Count the number of negative thoughts you have each day and jot them down in a place that only you have access. Then do not watch the news—any news—on television, cell phone or computer screen for one day. Then count the number of negative thoughts during that day. Remember, news is not really news, it is sensualized material meant to stir your emotions so that you will listen longer.
There is a good chance that following these suggestions will allow you to love yourself a little more than before.