It’s all about personality

After reading this article (here)  and having a bit of a chuckle I took the Myers-Briggs test again today – and I passed!

Last time I took it (last year) I was identified as an INFJ.
This time – INFJ – I guess that it’s an unavoidable diagnosis now.
You may be wondering what makes someone retake a Myers-Briggs test.. well I’d have thought the answer is obvious. What if I had answered incorrectly last time? What if I’m actually an ESTP?

INFJ – What does this mean?
It means a number of things for me and those around me … INFJ is considered the rarest personality type. I can almost hear some of you uttering sounds of disbelief.. 😉
This diagnosis might make it easier to understand some of the complexities that one encounters with me from time to time. For instance, how can I be a perfectionist introvert and yet enjoy writing a blog and putting it all out there? Well rest easy dear reader it will all be revealed – well some of it anyway – obviously just the bits I’m comfortable with you reading. You’ve probably encountered that aspect of me in conversation, in person, on one or two occasions. Some days I’m happy to talk about our life and the complexities involved there and other days I might seem annoyed that you’ve enquired. One of the things that I’ve learnt is that I spend a fair bit of time in my own world/head – so whatever you are asking about I’ve already completely over-thought it and moved on. I’ve moved on to about 4 or more different scenarios that could, if aligned, make things better – that’s what I do (apparently). And that’s why some days I appear exhausted.
My dear husband patiently read through the description of an INFJ with me and, I think, attempted to muffle the sounds of assent, acquiescence that were rising in his throat.

One week on one week off we live in a household that contains five of us.  We all have a unique blend of personality features and it would seem each one of us has a different personality type… how do we make that work? To tell you the truth, I’m not sure. I feel like this week just past it didn’t work that well. But then that could just be part of me that thinks things can always be done better.

We are a blended family – sounds painful right?

Some days it is — it’s not like it is in the movies. But then nothing is. We make a huge mistake when we think that the life presented on the screen is meant to resemble reality. After all, the movie where two families blend is over in about 90+ mins. None of this painful day-to-day adjusting and re-adjusting.

We’ve been having a bit of “fun” lately with the kids, as expected, despite the blending and everything else they have going on — they are pre-teens.
At the moment we are in possession of three iPads – it’s been that way for a month or so now. One of the children – the problem solver and future detective worked out the restrictions codes on the iPad (they were different) and shared the information with the other two. Kind of the opposite of what we’d planned with the fairly rigorous contract etc we’d put in place. Then came the clincher, they’d been doing it for months. One had removed all restrictions all together so the access that would have been available (had the interest been there) makes my hair curl to think about it.

With our three we have a few different factors operating at once. Obviously their genetic make-up is different from what it would be if they were ours, his and mine. They aren’t his and mine – instead they have genetic material from other people who don’t live here and who, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this, don’t get on with us. They’ve also, though some similarities exist, had significantly different formative years. They have different environmental factors that have created who they are. And the big one is – they each have a different personality.

We have individuals under our roof – who are just that, individuals.  (!!)

IMG_2861We have a rule follower, a potential chief justice, I think.

We have a risk taker.

We have a rule breaker.

We have a tactician.

We have a creative type

WE have an artist or two.

We have an analytical thinker.

We have a charmer.

We have a walking 8TB Hard Drive.

We have an extrovert.

We have an introvert or two or three or four.

We have an intuitive person.

We have an improver.

We have an improvisor.

We have at least three musicians.

The list goes on.

I don’t know if you are parents – I don’t know if you have had days like we had last week – days when my frustration levels were through the roof. Once again partly because of who I am. It’s a tough time of year at our place really, Christmas is far from relaxing as we balance the time kids spend with each parent and extended families etc. There are more trips backwards and forwards than I care to remember and the kids seem to be in a state of upheaval for a week or two. The tactician/analytical thinker needs to know what time he’s expected where, how he’s going to get there … who will be picking him up, how long he will be staying, what time he’ll return and for how long. He has a myriad of questions – and he gives voice to them all. And by about question 7 I start to lose patience – on a good day, question 3 on a bad day.
I think I could have done last week much better if only I’d taken the time to look at each child as an individual instead of a homogenous group set on disrupting the time this introvert needs to de-stress after the aforementioned to-ing and fro-ing.
So I’ve done some research and I’ve found some interesting things out about each one of us. We are all different – significantly – some of us have some areas that overlap. But after all my researching, in theory I’m pretty close to ready for next week when we’re all together again…in theory.

If this personality stuff is something you are interested in – I can thoroughly recommend taking the time to have a close look at all the people in your home, family, workplace. You might be surprised by what you find out about each – and possibly, about yourself as well. If you’ve already done this and know the exact blend of I:E ratio in your home – why the heck didn’t you tell me about this!! 😉
Having had a bit of a look at this – I think I can be more patient.
If you’re a parent and you’re interested in having a look at the kiddies in your place visit –
http://www.parentingbytemperament.com/index.html

The following Tim Keller quote, while it relates to marriage also relates beautifully to the relationships we have with those others who live under our roof.

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

So I’m hoping next week I’ll make less “ I would never have dreamed of doing that as a child” statements. Hopefully I’ll be more patient with the noisemaking, the rule-breaking(some of it) and the inquiring – I’m trying to that better this week.
I guess the ideal situation is that we all understand each other a little better – that the extrovert learns about the introverts, that the introverts learn it can’t always be quiet. That those strong in the “feeling” section can learn that they don’t need to let others walk all over them. 90 minutes into our new week – we won’t be listening for the feel good ballad that signals the happily ever after, but we keep on trying to understand each other better and love each other better.

One word of caution though – if you do go ahead and do this personality exercise – don’t get caught up in the “That’s just the way I am “ excuse – there are elements in all personality types and each individual that the sinful nature will capitalise on. I think we all want to have our own way whether we verbalise it or not. We all want everyone to be a little bit more like us.

God made us each individual for a reason and as long as I’m trying to be more like someone else or trying to make someone more like me – I’m not fulfilling my purpose and worse still I might be preventing them from fulfilling theirs. At worst, I’m now more aware of other personalities  – and best “the improver” can encourage and help each one of them to be their best selves.

So your homework this week is: to have a look at yourself, have a look at the others in your home, family, workplace. I’m sure you’ll find the information useful, possibly enlightening and hopefully it’ll make your relationships with those around you stronger, and better.

A bit of a long-winded one this week – but apparently INFJs are inclined to enjoy writing 😉

Some links to visit:

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

http://www.parentingbytemperament.com/index.html

https://www.kidzmet.com/content_pages/view/MBTI

http://www.personalitypage.com/html/high-level.html

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