Podcast – Episode 0350 – Transcending Your Personality And Finding Your True Essence

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about ways to get past your personality and discover who you are underneath.


In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Recent program on Enneagram with Dr. Beatrice Chestnut and Uranio Paes.
  • How the Enneagram system talks about Personality.
  • What does it mean to be ‘in personality’?
  • The willingness to see the self as having unhealthy patterns.
  • How the ‘I am the type of person that…’ statements keep us stuck.
  • The example of doubling down on introversion.
  • The role of ego in protecting us from criticism.
  • Maturity defined as = not needing to be lied to.
  • The metaphor of playing hide and seek with your child, and how maturity changes the rules of the game.
  • Is our hypersensitivity caused by the rejection of dark parts within ourselves?
  • Fighting what emerges from the unconscious: a personal share from Joel as a Social 6 in the Enneagram.
  • “Personality is who you are not, but who are you without it?”
  • How can we use ‘getting offended’ as an arrow pointing back at the self?
  • Oneness and why the other is ultimately a representation of you.
  • What is it that I am protecting myself from seeing because I don’t think I can handle it?
  • The fear of losing the ‘good parts’ of ourselves.
  • Going from creating new pathways to taking responsibility for all your mental wiring and your world-view.
  • Turning yourself into an action, a verb beyond the labels.
  • Philosopher Ken Wilber, work on spiral dynamics, axiom: wake up, grow up, clean up, show up.
  • Defining what it means to ‘grow up’ and ‘clean up’.
  • Uranio Paes: “Psychological work without spiritual work is incomplete, spiritual work without psychological work is dangerous.”
  • How the world is waking up and showing up, and why the ‘clean up’ part is the hardest of all.
  • How has the notion of ‘growing up’ evolved over the years?
  • Start with cleaning your room – Jordan Peterson – 12 Rules for Life
  • What does ‘doing the work’ of moving into your true essence look like?
  • Projection illustrated – INFJs and narcissists, and how every type struggles with some form of projection.
  • Applying these concepts to Myers Briggs – how type can lead to one-sidedness.
  • Making the ‘unconscious conscious’ when it comes to your Myers Briggs type.
    • Where have you become one-sided?
    • Where you fixed/stuck in your personality?
  • Owning your triggers.
  • Share your stories below!


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Showing 16 comments
  • Jeff Klassen

    Hey. This was an overall good episode.

    One point that resonated is owning one’s triggers. One example is what I count as respect may not be what another person close to me counts as respect. In response to this trigger I can move from anger, to being less sensitive, to giving more space. In doing this work I can see myself in some part transcending my ego. But ego transcendence is a process, and shows up in a number of ways.

    Thanks for this enlightening episode!

  • Howard

    Having recently been ‘woken up’ i can totally relate to this podcast and recognising the power of the ego.

    After a relationship breakup where i discovered i had been Passive Aggressive PA and emotionally hurt my partner, i was doubly traumatised as well as this happening during covid19 lockdown.
    i was in a really dark place, didnt want to be here anymore and cried everyday for months. It really was mentally brutal.
    Then one day, i was being super self critical on myself when a new strong voice spoke up in my head and told me to STOP IT, NO MORE! – my true self saved me and now i feel like 2 people – me and my ego. it was a real surprise!
    Since then I have done heaps of study into psychology side (PA, personality typology, enneagrams, attachment theory, relationships, self help and ego work), and also spiritually Eckhart Tolle and Eastern philosophy eg Taoism, mindfulness, and meditation which is especially helpful to quiet the egos chatter.

    So this is how i WOKE UP.

    To GROW UP for me meant to learn to start loving myself and become emotionally mature https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSOlpGnF9m0

    Then to CLEAN UP was to take responsibility and apolgise to people i knew i had been PA mean to – boy that was hard and humbling. It also meant i had to do the leg work with the study etc and then reconstruct myself.

    Lastly to SHOW UP meant to do what i FELT was me – not what i thought other people expected me to be, and catch my ego reacting to to triggers and making up stories and scenarios etc (makes me chuckle when i do catch it out), but it is clever so requires constant attention and being Present helps too. i realise this will be a lifelong task.
    I am 55 now and what a relief to understand myself. i also learnt this year that i am an INFJ 🙂

    Thankyou Joel and Antonia for all the thought you put into Personality Hacker, i have been following
    you guys since April and it has been so helpful for me stopping the ego’s negative self talk and defensiveness and helping me develop into the happier person i have always wanted to be Thanks Howard xx

  • Anthony Chmura

    This is one of the best of your best episodes!! It clarified so much for me: ego work, ego itself, and the Enneagram. I’ve known I’m a 3 for years but never got what that really meant or why it mattered, and now I just get it and I see my vanity fixation in almost everything I’ve ever done. Every work decision, college, relationships, why I was vegan for six months in high school (I said I wanted to be healthier but really I was just showing off). Thank you! This was incredibly helpful.

  • Andreea Vitan

    Hey guys, I love your work, it’s very inspiring to me. Your work helped me understand the futility of trying to stop hiding from people so I won’t feel their feelings because I am an INFJ.
    I knew about this “label” for many years but never paid attention, but this is not the reason I’m writing this comment, the “why INFJ’s see so many narcissists” triggered me.

    My mum has very high narcissistic treads, I won’t say she is a narcissist because I’m not qualified for it, and I was raised as a “scapegoat”, and “matured” as a very codependent person and with a generalised anxiety disorder.

    All my previous partners, including my ex-husband, had similar treads, my bosses (most of them), my friends (many of them) … and the most basic reason is that narcissist to get supply it’s convenient to use as victims, and most easily, the ones that already have a victim mentality.
    On the other hand, I see all this bad life experience as “training”, I’m very close to becoming immune to narcissistic attacks, I’ve self-healed my anxiety, and yes it’s an epidemy caused by last hundreds of years or more of “mentally living”, disconnected from nature and from ourselves.
    And in my opinion, maybe there is a connection between being an INFJ’s and surviving narcissistic abuse and that’s why are so many people with different levels of a narcissist personality in INFJ’s life.

    Thanks for your time and attention

  • Josette

    Great episode. It made me feel very fortunate that I discovered all of this in my established adult life to middle age. That foundation of maturity has already been laid. Or maybe I am deluding myself. 😀

  • Tyler Migdat

    Antonia hang it there! So many of us listeners really love and appreciate all that you and Joel do. Good luck with this trial or dark night of the soul that you’re going through.

  • Bill DiGennaro

    Disclosure or disclaimer: I identify with ENFP and largely express 7-ness.

    I was surprised at the single focus of this podcast, unless I missed something, on “growth as fixing”. Clearly, this is the Shadowwork that is so very productive, necessary and healing, and must not be denied. However, throughout the podcast, I found myself anticipating but not hearing a parallel of “Growth as increasing” (or something like that)
    I admit that I am perhaps in the pre-conscious state of effective denial (a marvelous and addictive La-La Land of false comfort and delight, I must say), but I kept seeing a different way, that growth is more of wholeness increasing in its capacity for more, greater, broader Wholeness. The Falsities of which you spoke often simply flee in the Light of more wholeness, being Shadows that they are. As I walk out of a sense of actual and internal completeness forward into the expanded and expanding Completeness, I am, maybe, I think, perhaps, at least sometimes, outpacing the Shadowman without turning around and pointing my finger in his face. I’ve used a lot of mixed metaphor, so it could well be that I’m not exceedingly clear in this. I’d love some questions and comments!

  • Monica Liu

    I am INFJ I never met a narcissist in my life. I am really curious about narcissists I ask around a lot “have you ever met a narcissist in your life? What are they like?” I wish I can meet at least one narcissist to complete my life experience on this planet called EARTH.

    • Bea Minus

      Hi Monica, you are very fortunate to have not ever met a narcissist. You can google “What is a Narcissist?” and come up with a huge number of descriptions.

      I believe I’ve had some people with some narcissistic behaviors in my life. My mother, my husband, and a couple of bosses come to mind, as well as some young men I dated back in college.

      I don’t believe there has been an explosion of narcissism. People with some narcissistic behaviors have always been around. Those of us with Ni dominant probably see a pattern of behaviors in some people, have been hurt by them, google these (hurtful) behaviors, the term “narcissist” comes up, and we go “Aha! Now we have a name for this!” And, they (we) gather in online groups and the term explodes.

      I’m an INTJ woman, and in one online group I belong to, a member stated she believed most, if not all men, were borderline narcissists. Wow! My first reaction was to agree, until I heard this podcast. As Antonia mentioned, there is a little bit of narcissist in all of us, so some of it may be a projection, not a full, official, professional diagnosis. It’s something to explore inside ourselves, and I have some work to do.

      Monica, if you ever meet a real narcissist, be careful. They are not easy to recognize until after the fact, many times.

  • Erik Bland

    I really liked the examples Antonia gave for why we may resist being open to truth. To paraphrase one of them: if I get offended easily, that can represent my desire for justice or fairness. If I lose my easily-offended nature, does that mean I also won’t care about fairness? We justify lying to ourselves because we claim it is necessary to allow us to become who we want to be (e.g a moral or just person).

    A method I use is to try find a way within myself to separate my viewpoints from reality. Using our fairness / justice example again, if I want to the world to be fair or just, there’s nothing wrong with me doing what I can to make the world more fair. That is the objective, or my viewpoint. But when I see unfairness in the world, or other people who support injustice, that is the outcome. Rather than being offended that unfairness exists, I can realize a couple of things:
    1) While I can influence external things, I only have direct control over myself (e.g. I can behave perfectly and still not see a perfect external result)
    2) Others may not agree that fairness or justice is as important as it is to me. Or they might, but it may mean something else to them

    If I can learn to separate my views on fairness from the realities I see in the world, I reduce the need to lie to myself about that reality.

    That said, this is really tough. After all, it’s still important to evaluate the effectiveness of our methods by the outcomes they produce, so the goal isn’t to simply ignore reality and focus only on our ideals. In our fairness/justice example, if I am working in politics or law, I should still use metrics and data, for example, to evaluate the effectivness of my actions in improving fairness.

    When a person doesn’t need the world to lie to them, that person is able to pursue their ideals genuinely and rigorously, without being shaken when reality doesn’t match those ideals.

    But again, this is really hard to do.

  • Jennifer

    I admire you both for aspiring to present information that is accessable. The eight functions podcast was that for me and I had a break through. This episode was not accessible for me. I was struggling to apply the concepts you were presenting – you used a lot abstract language. Could you offer some real world examples of how you recognized that you were “in personality” and then recognized what you needed to shift to get out of “being in personality”? Thank you!

    • Rob

      I also struggled a bit to follow all the ideas and concepts. So I have this friend that I like a lot, but she is emotionally unavailable. She is often brutally honest, I think it´s more unconscious and the way she is and also she is messing with me often. Some of her comments though touch on my deep insecurities and still make me feel bad about myself and wanting to be someone else. So according to what you´ve discussed in the episode, it´s my responsibility to choose how I feel about those kind of comments. I find it, however, very difficult. Maybe it´s because I like her more than a friend, and maybe because I´m in a more unstable and sensitive state of mind because of other things. But how to master the control of your feelings. How to react to those kind of comments? Shall I just let her say them without any reaction or defense? That would be the way to go if I understood your pod correctly, but it doesn´t quite feel like the right thing to do either!?

  • Tess

    I feel I have to warn you about the “tough love” rhetoric that was used in this episode. It is very important to be able to see your own truth, but for some people the problem is not that they’re defensive and hiding from their negative traits, but just the opposite.

    Like most INFJs, I’ve been told not to be so sensitive countless times, especially in childhood and younger years. I married a man (INTJ) who was very principled and rational, and not particularly inclined to create the kind of warm and supportive atmosphere that I wished for in a marriage.

    At a crucial point, when I was beginning to see that the relationship was not nurturing to me, I came across several sources of “selp-help” where this rhetoric was used. “You can’t change anybody except yourself” “Nobody can make you feel something, it’s all in your own response”, “When you’re triggered you need to look inside yourself and see the parts that you are hiding”. All this did for me was to suggest that I was the problem, that I should accept the unkind treatment as part of their authentic behavior and own my on reaction to it, that I was weak and needed to toughen up (of which I was already convinced). Of course, wanting everybody to be happy, I went all in trying to change myself, which of course ended in disaster. It took many years for me to put myself back together again.

    I am certain that I am not alone. Actually, I believe that about half of us tend to blame the world and other people for our problems, but that the rest of us turn our blame inward (in neither case, of course, is using blame an effective strategy). So when you are providing tools and thoughts to help people help themselves, I feel that it’s important to point out both these perspectives every time. When dealing with triggers, knowing and asking for what you need, and removing yourself from stressful situations, are valid tools along with the tool of mirroring that you are suggesting here.

    • Birgit Spikkeland

      I agree with you, Tess! I think you’re right about that “half of the world” theory. To mature as an INFJ it is CRUCIAL to start with loving yourself. And Joel is right- we are so poor at taking care of ourselves and therefore we often find ourselves in situations where other people take advantage of us- and therefore we need to seperate ourselves from them. And yes, too many of us describes the other person as a narcisist (myself included). Only lately, I have started to look at the role I played in setting the play up, so that I made it possible for that other person to exploit me. That’s why it is SOO important to discover the Fi. I have tried using Ti and Se to understand myself and the play around me, but that only led to despair and anxiety. Starting by loving myself and exploring my own feelings is like finding the compass to guide myself forward into selfcare and boundary- setting. But it is funny, this contrast between extroverts and introverts. I think introverts (to some degree), always will feel intimitated by extroverts and extroverts have a tendency to “overrun” the introverts, intended or not..

    • Antonia Dodge

      I appreciate your perspective and the time you took to comment.

      The comments you made are accurate for anyone overcoming trauma and learning self-love and appreciation, generally considered healing work.

      This was a podcast specifically on transcendence work and overcoming the ego, not on healing work. As healing and achievement are different topics, it’s not a case of talking to two types of people (and making sure to address both). But, rather, people at two different places in their journey.

      Healing, for all types, requires a gentle message. Ego transcendence, for all types, is brutal.

      For more on this, feel free to check out the HAT model episode:


      • Birgit Spikkeland

        Thank you, Antonia!
        The HAT- episode was well worth listening to:-)!!

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