Wednesday, May 3, 2017

How Knowing your Personality Type can Change your Life

 
 
Hello, I’m Emily. And I’m…well…more than a little obsessed with personality tests.

I’ve taken so many personality tests, and I fully believe in the science behind them.

Now of course, there’s those super silly, totally rigged ones that you see floating around Facebook, like, What color is your personality?...Which Gilmore Girls Character are you?...Which Literary Character are you?

And I’ll admit to have taken those and enjoyed them anyway…especially the literary character quiz. (Because I got Jo March from Little Women)!

 But I’ve also taken tests like Myers-Briggs and the Ennegram Test (there are others, but these two are my favorite), where I’ve found out that I am an ENFP (Extroverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Prospecting)  and a Type 2 personality.

I could seriously just sit and talk personality types all day long.

I would begin by convincing you that you NEED to take at least one of several (legitimate) tests out there (your best bet would probably be Myers-Briggs). And then I would completely geek out in helping you learn all about your type.

Yes, “geek out” is the right phrase here ;)

But I really am a firm believer that the benefits to knowing your personality type are numerous! And probably even more than what I'm including here...
 
 

 
You find out that people who do things differently from you are just that…different. NOT wrong.
 
Ever since discovering personality types, I’ve found that I can get along, and work with just about anybody. Rather than getting frustrated with someone because they do something differently than I would, I know how to take a step back and recognize that everyone is different. I may have one kind of perspective on a situation, but that comes from my OWN personality. I can’t expect everyone else to think or act the same way I do in the same situation, and that’s OKAY! There are ways to work together, and extend grace in ways that allows people with clashing personality types to find common ground.
 
You learn to give YOURSELF grace too.
 
I have a few “staple” phrases that you will hear a lot from me…
 
“Oops! I got distracted, sorry!”
“Wait. What was I just talking about...?”
“Oh, shoot, I forgot about that!”
 
I will own up to being the most scatterbrained human in the universe MOST of the time! I get myself stuck in an endless cycle of brain overdrive. I’ll be focused on one project, task, or thought…and then my mind just shifts over to another one before I have a chance to stop myself. But then it’s like the first thing was never even there.
 
And forget  about actually completing a to-do list…most of the time I don’t even finish WRITING them.
 
And then there are these phrases that come out of my mouth quite frequently…
 
“So, I had this thought…”
“I’M SO EXCITED, I CAN’T STAND IT!!”
“But, What if…?”
“WHY in the world…?”
 
In other words, let’s get as on board, happy, and pumped up about something as humanly possible…only to question every possible thing that could go wrong in the process, and become overly critical of details that we think shouldn’t exist. Then let’s get so wrapped up in the negative, that we ultimately just toss the entire idea out the window.
 
With all of these things constantly happening on a regular basis, I tend to become very, very hard on myself (which is ALSO a dominant trait of my type, ENFP), and absolutely hate myself for how my brain works (or…how it does NOT work).
 
I’m still learning how to accept myself as I am, and that I will just always be kinda “all over the place” (although it is always healthy to make changes to help you in the long run, and I’ll get to that in a bit here). I’m learning that this is how my brain is wired, and it’s NOT bad. It’s NOT broken. I’m NOT a failure, and I’m NOT a “screw-up”.  
 
  
 
You understand the WHY behind all the things people do.
 
Some people prefer getting together in big groups of friends for dinner, drinks, and dancing.
 
Some people prefer having a cup of coffee in a quiet café with one or two friends, discussing life and deep topics.
 
Me? I’ll take BOTH! And at any time! It’s part of being an ENFP. We love “letting our hair down” and just going crazy sometimes. But other times, we are perfectly content with long, in depth conversations. As long as we are TALKING. As long as we are with PEOPLE.
 
Some people recharge from a long or difficult day by heading straight for home, and crawling into bed with a good book or movie.
 
Some people NEED to get together with friends, even if it’s just to forget the events of the day.
 
For me it depends on my mood. Sometimes I can’t handle going home and being alone, because I get too stuck in my own head and become sad. Sometimes the day has wiped me out so much that I can’t even handle the thought of going out. Again, all part of being an ENFP.
 
Extrovert, but also “internalizer”.
 
You learn what gives you (or robs you of) energy, and how to manage that.
 
Three years ago, I was living by myself in a one bedroom apartment, and working as a teacher assistant. We had just had a massive snow storm, AND a massive temperature drop in Northern Indiana. We had also just gotten done with a two week long Christmas break, and all the surrounding towns closed their schools for that Monday, of course. But then a state of emergency was called, and no one was allowed to be on the roads. Schools were closed for the rest of the week!  But once the state of emergency was lifted, even though there was still no school, I had to GET. OUT. OF. THERE. I actually bundled up, totally dug out my car that was practically buried in snow, and I drove to the nearest video store JUST to have contact with the outside world for crying out loud! I didn’t understand how anyone could stay home alone for that long! And still knowing that some people enjoy it!
 
But some are driven by solitude. After hours of “chit chatting” with a lot of people, they make like to retreat to their solitude place to “recharge”. Me?...being NOT in solitude is what recharges me! 
 
Needless to say, I felt better that day just getting a chance to talk to another human! That connect (no matter how brief), that draw to people, that’s what drives me.
 


 
Knowing your type helps you evaluate the concrete, positive changes you need to make in your life.   
 
Now you shouldn’t use your personality type as an excuse for all of your actions. But it is a great tool to help you pin point what your “negative attributes” might be, and how to make changes that will help you get through some tougher times.
 
For example, I become very unhappy and totally unmotivated when I feel tied down to a mundane, repetitive schedule. But I also tend to drown in overwhelming urgency when I don’t have enough structure and life feels like it’s falling apart. So I am learning to create routines that can easily be switched up whenever I need it to be. And besides that, not much about what I do is mundane (teaching dance and music, singing, taking ballet class…). It is definitely something different and surprising every day. So that alone helps! An ENFP needs to be in a career where they are constantly moving, and the environment and tasks are exciting to hold their enthusiasm. I’ve definitely found that! But even when I start feeling burned out (as we all do, no matter what our type), I know how to change things up so they start feeling fun again.

 

Everyone is different. I am not going to do things, feel things, handle things in the same ways you will. And that’s okay. In fact it’s wonderful!

 

Do you know your MTBI Myers-Briggs personality type? If not…CLICK HERE to take it for yourself! *Hint, Hint* ;) Do it! Learn something about yourself. Learn something about someone else. And let me know what you find out!

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