May 13

The Structure of Interpretation: The Path to Self-Awareness with Mellissa Rempfer

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have their lives figured out, while others are just constantly trying to make it work? Things never really seem to be going their way. Welcome to another article in self-awareness series.

As an illustration it all comes down to a few cornerstone foundations for being and bringing out your best self. For today's article, we are doing to address: self-awareness.

Self-awareness is essential for developing more productivity, happiness, personal development, healthy habits and well-being, and mindfulness.

Welcome to the next article of the series about self-awareness! Today, we'll explore how self-awareness plays a vital role in comprehending why and how we do certain things, and what obstacles we face when we're caught in those habits that we can't seem to shake off. You know, those that make us go, "Ugh, not again!". Let's dive right in!

But before you continue reading, you might want to check out the first part of this series: Discovering Self-Awareness: Why It Matters and How to Build It by Mellissa Rempfer.

Specifically, I'm going to show you how we're going to be able to cultivate a greater awareness of ourselves (and why this is important to understand how we respond), emphasizing within an area called the "Structure of Interpretation".

Learning about the Structure of Interpretation (SOI for short) literally is going to change your understanding (and awareness) of how we think, behave, and respond to all those areas of our lives that get us stuck, or keep us doing those same habits over and over again.

What is the Structure of Interpretation?

The Structure of Interpretation is the foundational understanding and framework regarding the understanding of ourselves, others, and life. This framework includes both 1- our inner self (including thoughts, feelings, and behaviors), and 2- our external self which creates and supports our understanding (including but not limited to society, culture, relationships with others, tools and resources, religion, and our environment). The combination and interplay of both the inner and outer structures form our unique understanding of "I am".

"We, as human beings, have a way that we understand the world and ourselves: We know what we know. We act the way we act. We think the way we think. This is our Structure of Interpretation."

To better explain the Structure of Interpretation, let's look at this diagram below.

To begin with, let's start with the drawing of the diagram that represents our Structure of Interpretation (SOI). We have the person (notice the body in the center). Our person is gender-neutral for all gender types, but for ease and purposes, we have a happy little person.

This is the makeup of who we are: head, heart, and body. Together this is how we perceive and how we take in information and our understanding of the world, and ourselves.

Our internal sense of Self and Being is made of:

  • Your thoughts - this is how and what you think;
  • Your feelings - these are your emotions; and
  • Your behaviors - this is how you act and behave (also what is happening somatically).

The External Piece of Your World

Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can also respond to what's happening in your external world. 

The circle around the person represents the external piece of your world (see video or image of SOI). Everything else that creates your world as you know it, understand it, and how you relate to it. The circle showcases your society, culture, environment, religion, tools and resources, home, community, support systems, and the people and relationships around you.

Also, your environment could also be the home that you live in, your desk, your working environment, and all those little things like that.

In addition, the external world is also how you understand different holidays, customs, or rites of passage. celebrate holidays or customs. What is expected, how you behave, what it the "norm". Even how you have been taught and engrained for how to take care of your family or elders, or even if you go to college or how you should be as a "responsible adult".

Another example of our external frame is religion. One thing that you practice is your religion may have different expectations or beliefs for someone else’s religion.

The inner and external frameworks together form our Structure of Interpretation. And together they all co-create the "I am" component of knowing ourselves: 

I am... powerful. 

I am... strong. 

I am... weak. 

I am... sick 

I am... scared.

I am frustrated

I am... not good enough. 

I am... frustrated. 

I am... not smart enough.

I am... "I can't ___" 

I am ___ (whatever you put in here). etc.

On the whole, all of these frameworks are key components of the Structure of Interpretation forming a giant lens of how you see, know, and engage in the world.

Where Our Structure of Interpretation Can Lead Us

A point often overlooked is our structure can lead us to understand how we think and how our thought patterns are formed (say HELLO to our mental chatter and self-talk!). This also leads us to how we feel emotionally which builds the foundations for our temperament and mood (know anyone who sees the glass half full?). The behaviors we do over and over again form patterns (we are talking to you habits, the good, the bad, and the ugly ones). These all come from our Structure of Interpretation.

And of course, based on our structure of interpretation, we each have different ways that we can get triggered. These triggers will have a unique reactionary response to the stress or other stimuli that will influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

The next article in this self awareness series will introduce you to the "Trigger Path" and how you can "get in your own way". You don't want to miss that, do you? So, stay tuned!

Knowing Your Structure of Interpretation

Being conscious about your structure of interpretation and how your external world affects your internal world leads you to self-awareness.

Start Your Self-Awareness Journey!

Finally, becoming the greatest version of yourself requires you to be self-aware as it allows you to have a deeper understanding of your own thoughts, emotions, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. Aside from that, it also enhances emotional intelligence and helps you align your actions, choices, and goals with your true values, beliefs, and aspirations.

Are you ready for Bringing Out Your Best Self?

If you are ready to embark on your self-awareness journey to unleash your true potential, I encourage you to book a complimentary coaching session with me, Unstoppable: Being Your Best Self. 

I am the partner-to-be if you want guidance on your journey to becoming more self-aware and how to stop Getting in Your Own. Time to be Unstoppable and bring out your best self! Book here

The Enneagram system also gives a powerful framework for understanding and exploring the patterns, motivations, and behaviors that in turn drive our thoughts and connections. If you are ready to unlock your greatest gifts, book an Enneagram session with me.

Navigate your life with clarity and authenticity by being self-aware. Peel back the layers of who you are and understand your thoughts, and embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and personal growth!

Lastly, come back next week as I break down how our habits (good and well not so healthy habits are tied to our triggers, thoughts, and emotions). See you then. Comment below what you ah ha's you discovered. 

Till next time, stay compassionate and curious. 

Mellissa Rempfer, MA.ed AET, P.C.C. Enneagram Coach

Mellissa Rempfer helps people on their paths to success get out of their own way by finding the best in themselves and others. Mellissa has taught, coached, and lead workshops globally for 20+ years, all the while constantly asking “what is needed for the person before me to grow and develop?” Mellissa’s need to answer that question is a personal one given the challenges her own life has surrounded her with, from homelessness in high school to a long and continuing struggle with medical issues, and many more lessons in resilience in-between.

Mellissa’s credentials and certifications support her work in human growth and transformation include: Master’s Degree in Adult Education in Training and Development, Professional Certified Integral Coach, Certified Enneagram Teacher, and Authorized Workshop Facilitator with the Enneagram Institute. Mellissa can be often be found talking with strangers, watching The Great British Bake Off, or being a fully present dog mom to her Zöe. 


Enneagram, Mellissa Rempfer, Self-Awareness, selfdevelopment, SOI, Structure of Interpretation

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