Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wednesday Wonder: Who Am I?

It's January, so that means a lot of people have been spending large amounts of time lately thinking about who they are, what their life looks like, what they wish their life looked like, and how to change what they're doing so that they can get wherever it is that they hope to be going. And I'm no different, especially with the long list of things that have come to the forefront for me as a result of my decision to begin attending weekly therapy sessions.

I've always been a woman of varied interests, and if you've known me in any capacity for any length of time, you'll already know that this is an inescapable truth. I love knitting and crocheting, music and movies, books and art. I love sculpting with clay. I love beading, and I've even handcrafted some truly beautiful pieces of jewelry over the years. I love words in all their forms, and have also dabbled in learning several different languages - none of which have been well-learned, due to lack of practice.

But who am I really, and how best do I figure that out?

I know my astrological sign, and I know what it means to be an Aquarius. I've made note over the years of the ways in which I fit (or don't fit) into the mold of what a traditional Aquarian is thought to be. I know that I'm an introvert, partly due to my genetic makeup and what that means for my personality, and partly due to my life circumstances and the resulting struggles with mental wellness. I know the truth behind my struggles with anxiety, panic, and depression, and I understand what those struggles mean in relation to my daily life and how I cope with the world at large.

I know that I am a Christian, and that spending a decade or so exploring alternative religions as a young woman has given me a much richer and deeper relationship with Christ - my Christianity is akin to having been through several alright-but-unsatisfying marriages, and then finally meeting THE ONE.

But how do all of these factors add up to who I am, truly? And what other ways are there for me to learn more about myself? I always loved astrology - I actually still do, and sometimes I'll seek out my daily horoscope just for fun. Now and then, I like playing around with Tarot cards, and I've even been known to blend meditation with my prayer life.

But is there more? Something deeper than astrology and more expansive than the introvert/extrovert debate? Sure there is - there's psychology, the study of the mind and how it relates to who a person is. There's the Jung typology test.

Recently I was reading a blog that mentioned this test, and I thought of all the times I've taken it before - and the varying results I've always had. At different points in my life I've tested somewhat differently on this scale, but some things have always remained the same, and I've almost always felt that my results were spot on. Perhaps sometimes I wasn't as honest with myself as I should have been, but the blog I was reading had me thinking that with everything going on lately, now might be a good time to reassess. I found 16personalities.com to be remarkably accurate and informative, and their test was both quick and decisive. The test itself is free, as are the emailed results, and they also have a page on their site that explains the theories behind the different personality types and how these theories work together to categorize humans into groups of ... whatever they are.

So I took the test, and wasn't at all surprised to be informed that I am in the "diplomat" category, and more specifically, a "mediator." Both of these titles fit perfectly with a girl who grew up in a series of rough environments, a girl who often felt discarded or unable to please those around her. They perfectly sum up what it means to me to have become a people pleaser in my early years - so much so that when I realized my first marriage was irreparable and I left my husband, my father's disappointment was all it took to send me running back. He was disappointed with this too, and I was crushed - that was the end of my need to please him, and the end of my inherent desire to seek approval from the people I loved. It was the beginning of being able to live for me, and yet.

A mediator, I am.

INFP. These are the letters that sum up my personality, the things that make me who and what I am on the inside, the things that impact my life and the lives of those around me on the outside. INFP. Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception. According to 16 Personalities, I am a "true idealist," "always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people." Check, and check. Also according to 16 Personalities, I "have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine." Yes, at times I suppose this can be true as well.

"Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type - but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration." - 16 Personalities, Mediator assessment.

For me, that's an eerily correct description of much of my life, both as a child and as an adult. I was one of the only kids I knew who liked books, who liked to stay in and read rather than going out to play. As a teen, I was the only person I knew who could sit at a computer screen for hours, making up stories. Later, I was the only person I knew who sought refuge from the world in a book of  my own handwritten poems. I was a lone wolf. The only girl I knew who didn't think knitting and crochet were just for old women, the girl who most liked Home Ec in middle school. Between that and my home life, I was weird and I knew it - and I spent a lot of time feeling like an outcast. This didn't change in adult life either - I was a single mom for the first time by the time I was 21 years old, and this set me apart in some ways from the world around me. Although by this time I did have some friends in similar situations, it never escaped my notice that just forty minutes away, girls my same age were attending college classes, planning a future that hadn't started yet. And I was already worrying about the light bill, the grocery bill, the car payment. The cost of diapers. Over the years, these things (and others) have led to people assuming things about me and who I am that are incorrect, or at the very least, sometimes not entirely accurate. But, it is also true that when I have an opportunity to be surrounded by people who like the same things as I do or who have experienced similar circumstances ... I simply can't stop myself from feeling like a flower in bloom.

There's so much more to the results of this simple test, so much that relates to me on so many levels. I got just what I was looking for in this - a better understanding of myself now, because of who I've been and what I've been through at various points in my life. And I think you'll get that too, so if you're looking to know yourself a little better as we begin this new year, head on over to take the test for yourself, and don't forget to come back and share your results with me in the comments!


44 comments:

  1. I have always been intrigued with the personality quizzes. I am an ISFJ-A Defender type. The description fits me almost perfectly.

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    1. It's cool how they work isn't it? I have always wondered how just a few questions can pin me down so perfectly!

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  2. I love using the Enneagram as a tool for self-identification. The Myers Briggs model always ends up looking like xxFx for me, as I straddle the fence on a lot of these. I say that I am an 'ambivert' both introverted and extroverted. xoxo Robin

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    1. I like to think that I'm a bit ambiverted too, as I have both intro- and extro- traits. But I do lean more heavily to the introverted side for sure.

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  3. I remember taking those tests in school to find out what job I would be best suited for. So that before I signed up for college I could make the right decision. At this point in my life I wonder if giving honest answers to a test will tell me, I am doing what I really want or I should hurry up and make up for lost times and change it up.

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    1. It might be worth it to try. If you're full of self-doubt anyway, then what do you have to lose?

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  4. I haven't taken that particular test although pretty much everyone I know has taken them and says the same thing that you do; eerily correct. I am going to take it tonight after I get done working, because I want to know what my personality is.

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    1. I think they're really fun - it's especially interesting to take them again after a few years or so to see how you've changed over time.

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  5. I have never tried personality tests. Well, I guess i am afraid to know it? Hahaha, thanks for this, I think i have additional courage to take those types of tests.

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    1. They're really fun, and they do tend to focus more on the positive aspects of any personality type. It's doubtful that you'd take a personality test that pops up with, "Alert! Alert! Psychosis detected!" or any other such devastation. Usually it's just an additional insight into why you feel and act the way you do, and it can be really helpful if other people in your life take them too. I think spouses who take things like this together benefit from an added sense of understanding and relating to one another - or maybe, a clearer explanation of what's not working.

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  6. I never knew what I would be when I grew up..I kinda sorta wanted to be a doctor just because the Dr. before my name sounded good..but I ended up as a computer engineer.

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  7. I'm intrigued to try the personality test. Sounds like fun!

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  8. We had to do these tests at my workplace in order to learn more about each other and how to work together. I think it can be a great idea just to give you more of an idea about your own strengths and weaknesses.

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    1. I agree, and I think doing them together in a workplace environment is a great way to figure out who belongs where on a team - so that each person's strengths are respected and utilized, while their weaknesses are covered by other members of the group.

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  9. I work within the field of psychology so I'm always interested to get more insight into how my mind works. I took the same test a few years ago and think I got the same categories as you, which fit in with my need to make sure people are okay and try and assist with any conflicts!

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    1. That was one of my favorite things about this one and my results - the way it acknowledged my "fixer" instinct. I've taken similar ones in years past also, with usually similar - but sometimes different! - results.

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  10. This personality test is spot on. I got ENFP-A. It's always great to get insight on your personality and have an understanding of yourself.

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    1. I thought so too. I love that it helps me have a better understanding of myself.

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  11. I need to go take that test. I don't have time at the moment, but now I am intrigued by it.

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  12. I love taking personality quizzes even though I can never remember exactly what I am lol! I am an introvert for sure but there are so many different tests and things out there that it's hard to remember them all!

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    1. Agreed! I tend to take them whenever I find them, just to check them out and see what I get.

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  13. Its very important to do a little self analysis from time to time. It helps us figure out what we want out of life and maybe more importantly, what we don't want too.

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    1. I agree completely. It helps you figure out what's working - and what isn't.

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  14. I never consider myself any one person and feel I am always growing, learning and evolving into something new and unique. Taking a personality test sounds both informative and fun!

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    1. I like taking them here and there over time to see how they change in response to what life brings my way over the years.

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  15. Sounds like a great test. I remember when I was in my 20's I used to wonder who the heck I was all the time. Thank God as I got older I stopped asking myself that question because I knew exactly who I was.

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    1. I think that definitely comes with time and experience - but I also think it's important to continue to explore who you are as life changes you.

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  16. We will always wonder about that. If there's something more or something bigger that we're missing. I think it's awesome that you took a test like this, it helps you understand yourself more.

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    1. Agreed! I'm sure I'll take it again at some point too. I really liked this one.

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  17. Good for you for beginning to attend therapy sessions! I used to attend weekly and haven't been lately. My husband and I decided that I should start attending again. Here's to therapy as I think everyone should have their own therapist!

    Kaitlyn
    www.mypostpartumlife.com

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    1. Yes, totally! It was a really hard choice for me to start going too - it took me several months of knowing I needed to do it before I finally could.

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  18. self-identification is a complicated subject, I had a chance to read some philosophic books about this kind of topics, and it was interesting and so hard to make it practical in the real life.
    thank you for your post

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    1. It's definitely hard to apply things like that sometimes, especially for a creature of habit. When you tend to "always" do things a certain way, knowing why doesn't always help you stop doing it.

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  19. Does that really workkk??i never done such test but today surely gonna try it

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    1. Well, I was definitely amazed at how accurate this one was. I've taken several over the years that were usually PRETTY accurate. This one was more like SCARY accurate. I loved it!

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  20. I love that there's never a final clear cut answer for who we are as we keep evolving. This test sounds like something me and my friends would definitely be into.

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    1. That's my favorite thing about tests like this usually being free (and particularly the fact that I blogged about this one). I think it will be interesting to go back in a few years and take it again, see what's changed.

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  21. That personality test sounds intriguing, I am going to have to check it out. The only time that I've used a personality test was when we were toilet training my first child. The book that we were using could have been written about her :)

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    1. Haha! I love when that happens - it gives you a whole new level of understanding!

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  22. I have tried a personality test before and It amuses me. 80% of the result is what I am. Sweet.

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    1. I usually find somewhere between %80 and %90 accuracy. This one was spot-on though!

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