Psychological and philosophical point of view, brought to you in plain language…
Psychological and philosophical point of view, brought to you in plain language…
There’s something about myself it took me a while to understand.
When I read my enneagram personality profile (number 1), I knew most of it was pretty spot on. I’m a perfectionist with high standards and morals. There was one thing I didn’t get though: this reformer and advocate stuff. What was all that about?
Detailed freak and nit-picky perfectionist is me to a T, but reformer? Me? I always thought of myself as passive, a follower, someone who doesn’t rock the boat, and the most cautious person in the world. So, the image of reformer I had in my mind didn’t match up with what I knew about myself.
But over the years I’ve come to understand this side of myself more and can see how I really am a reformer, in spirit if not in action – yet.
See, with my high standards and morals, they are most definitely for me (I’m my own worst critic and place higher standards on myself than others) but I’ve always thought others should have high moral standards too. I never impose my standards on others so that’s why I thought I wasn’t much of a reformer. But my desire is for others to have high moral standards because I believe the world would be a better place with them – if everyone treated each other with compassion and respect, for example, I can’t see anything bad there.
I’ll never impose my standards on others, but I’m ever hopeful that everyone would have the morals of looking after each other and caring for the world we live in.
See, I believe in people. And my desire to see people be all they can be, to live their dreams, and to treat each other well is something that has always been in me. I want all people to know they are worthy. I want all people to show others that they are worthy.
What the enneagram did for me was articulate something I always had in me that I didn’t fully understand. I don’t really know why I believe in people despite all the horrible things people can do, but it seems that it’s in my personality to believe in them no matter what. Because I do. Not everyone has this relentless belief in all people, especially when the evidence suggests otherwise, and I’ve sometimes felt guilty about my belief. But I still can’t help what I believe.
With this understanding, I’ve been able to embrace this part of my nature and things just seem that little bit clearer in my life. I’m becoming more intentional and active in what I believe about people and it’s given me an even bigger sense of purpose and a feeling of this is part of what I’m meant to do.
I love it when people own their personality – which can only come from understanding it and using it for good. I’m owning this reformer side of my mine.
This is just another example of how understanding personality through the tools of personality tests/profiles has helped me.
I’ll always advocate the personality test because I believe it can help people. And I believe in people!
I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. But I’ve done lots of thinking and metacognitive analysis as usual, so I’ve got a bunch of things I’ve learnt throughout last year about how I work.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the things I’ve learnt:
So, this is only a snippet of the things I’ve learnt but I’ll write about the other things in other posts. And, of course, I’ll always be learning more! It’s a lot of fun!
Ask anyone if they know a personality analyst and they most likely would tell you they don’t – but the truth is we all are. We don’t carry the official title with it, and we don’t really consider ourselves analysts or assessors, but we are just that whenever we deal with people.
It starts out strong when we first meet people. It is human nature to want to try and determine how to behave in certain environments around certain people and the way we do that is by assessing their personalities and making decisions on how we think they are and what we think they will find acceptable.
It is human to seek approval and to want to be liked and accepted. So we mentally assess the situation and that involves the people in it. Our interior assessment tools are constantly at work, drawing conclusions and making judgments about the people we encounter.
The encounters don’t even have to be face to face meetings. I know I have drawn conclusions about whether or not I like someone from seeing something they have written. Sometimes there isn’t even a photograph connected to a person’s writings, and I still determine whether or not I like that person.
Without putting it into words, I have drawn up a sense of that person and what I feel they are like – in other words, how I believe their personality is, and from that, I have decided whether it is thumbs up or thumbs down.
If it all sounds quite subjective, you are partially right. That is because it most certainly is subjective, but not partially so, entirely so. We base our way of dealing with people and of acting around them, on the conclusions we draw from our assessment of their personality, most of which goes on without us even being aware that it is happening.
But, there are more objective ways to analyze personality. There are people who have studied personality for years and have come up with measures that group different types of personalities in ways to categorize them.
Mostly, these tools are used in the business world where employers try to assure they are getting as accurate a read on a potential employee prior to hiring them and investing in them. But with the changing degrees of loyalty that both employees and employers demonstrate recently, the analysis doesn’t seem to matter as much as it once did.
Most of us have heard about Type A and Type B personalities and to a large degree, truth can be seen in the predominant behaviors we exhibit as to which of these two categories we fall into. But since mood tends to impact personality quite often, the degree of how deep into the category one lies, can fluctuate.
I know I am more of an outgoing type of person than introverted, however, there are many times when I don’t feel like putting myself out there. If you ever read horoscope type definitions of people who are born under certain signs of the zodiac, it is sort of the same thing. There are descriptors of the types of behaviors and personalities that you ‘should’ have if you are born under a particular sign, but the closer you get to the sign before or the next sign, the more likely you are to have milder degrees of these ‘traits.’
Yet despite the vagueness, there are people who have very strong, consistent personality traits that are solid as can be. For these individuals, there is no problem determining their personality types.
There are some free online personality tests that you may find an interesting way to get started. All it takes is a few minutes of your time and a bit of inner reflection to consider the responses prior to making your selection. I recommend the Big 5 personality test. You can include a second person to compare your traits with in this test – always something fun.
All in all, I believe anything that helps us get more in touch with who we are and furthers our self-awareness and self-knowledge is a good thing. If understanding more about personality gets us to do that, then it already has served a great purpose.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!
An essay I wrote why it’s okay to be an introvert. I wrote it because I felt so misunderstood as an introvert and thought there was something wrong with me and needed to change. The more I researched it, the more I learnt it’s okay to be an introvert and the world needs them.
When I discovered the Personality Café, I discovered I wasn’t alone.
I’m not one for joining online communities, but I joined Personality Café because I was so surprised and excited to find other ISTJ’s on there; people like me. I don’t know many people like me in my own network; I might share some characteristics with others, and it’s a bit of a thrill, but here online, I found people who were like the same person as me. I couldn’t believe I’d found people who actually liked and didn’t like the same things as me. I found people who reasoned and behaved the same way I did. It was amazing.
When I found out my personality type, I didn’t feel so weird, but when I found these ISTJ’s online, I felt even less weird.
I knew I’d found my kin when I read the first reply to a post about things you would rant about: “Loud people. Loud music. Loud cars with unnecessary modifications to the exhaust system.” I couldn’t help but laugh. I know exactly what you mean. When I added to the conversation by posting that I didn’t like microphones, vacuum cleaners or power tools, my fellow ISTJ’s were very enthusiastic in their agreement. Wow. I felt understood.
There were people who turned their mobiles off like me because we don’t like phones. There were people who made lists, turned up early, thought too much, planned everything, loved tradition and facts – like me. We are no fuss types, just get on with it people who forget to eat, sleep and socialize when we have something to do. We love rules, details and painstaking, meticulous work. We love working hard. We are the duty fulfillers!
Before, if I told you my personality type, I would have said it half apologetically, but with these fellow ISTJ’s, I was proud to be one of them, and they were glad to have me. I’d write posts, and they’d reply saying that when they read them, they thought they were reading about themselves.
I spent a lot of my time in the ISTJ forum because I felt at home there, and even now when I feel like I’m the only ISTJ in the world, I can go back to that forum and remember there are others like me and we’re all okay; we don’t have to change into a different personality type to fit in.
Not only do I appreciate the ISTJ community, I appreciate the shared interest in wanting to know how people work. We want to understand the way people think and behave and like to think about the differences and similarities between people. They don’t just focus on MBTI but other personality tests, and they are interested in other topics such as philosophy, science and religion. It’s always great to find people who have the same interests as you, and it’s a good resource to learn more about personality.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test based on Carl Jung’s theory of types. The test determines the preferences people have in terms of how they see the world and make decisions. These preferences are what shape a person’s interests, values, motivations, skills and needs.
There are four sets of dichotomies that are measured on a scale:
All eight are used but people differ in which ones they prefer to use. We might not know we prefer one trait over another but it’s the one we naturally do without even thinking about it. The trait that is preferred tends to be more dominant and highly developed than the other trait in the dichotomy.
Here’s a brief explanation of each trait:
Extroversion- Focus on the external world of action, people and things
Introversion- Focus on the internal world of reflection, thoughts and ideas
Sensing- Perceive the world through the five senses and what is present
Intuition- Perceive the world through insights and possibilities
Thinking- Objective decisions are made based on logic
Feeling- Subjective decisions are made based on values
Judging- Approach the world in a structured, planned, organized way
Perceiving- Approach the world in an open, flexible and spontaneous way
Once you know which four preferences you have, you know your personality type, which is expressed as a four letter code. There are sixteen types:
All types are equal and valid. There is no best type. They are simply different ways of seeing the world and making decisions.
Get to know and love your type but remember you are not just your personality. Personality makes up a part of you, and your MBTI type is only a part of your personality (other personality tests may show you different things about yourself). There is more to you than your type and there will be unique things about you that don’t match up with your type. No personality test will be able to describe or explain you completely, but I still see their worth for the small measure they do help you to know yourself better.
I have found the MBTI personality test to be the best because it has helped me understand myself better than any other test. You can read about that in this post: MBTI and Personality Enlightenment.
How well do you know yourself?
To find out your personality type, do this personality test.
Once you’ve found out your personality type, go to this personality profile page and click on your four letter code. I have found these particular profiles to be the most useful but you can also type your type into Google and check out what other profiles say about you.
Leave a comment with your type and the name for your type – I’d love to know how accurate you think it is for you and if it helped at all.
Before I tell you what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is about, let me show you why I’m fan and why I think everyone can benefit from it.
When I found out I was an ISTJ, the duty fulfiller or the inspector, I had a light-bulb moment. I used to think there was something wrong with me because I had a combination of traits that made me different to most people I knew. To name some of them: I’m an introvert, I love studying and doing assignments, I enjoy hard work and painstaking, meticulous work that other people shudder at, I love deadlines and submit everything early, and I’m an organized freak who is incredibly structured and plans everything.
Now, being the introspective, metacognitive person I am, I knew all this about myself, but I thought I shouldn’t be all these things because other people thought my traits were odd.
That was all until I discovered MBTI and that I was an ISTJ. The profile fit me to a T and it was like I was reading myself on a page. It was amazing! It showed me that there was nothing wrong with me; I just had a particular personality caused by the way I saw the world, processed information and made decisions, which is something I don’t do consciously but could now understand.
I was worried when I told a friend my life motto was, life is about things to do and getting them done, because she just laughed and told me I was a workaholic. You’d think I would have worked that out for myself but I missed that fact. The motto isn’t what I thought life should be about; it was just how I saw life. I couldn’t help it and I thought I should get a new motto. But it reassured me when I found the name of the ISTJ is duty fulfiller. That sums it up right there and from then on I was okay with my hard-working nature and my tendency to state facts rather than inspiring idealisms.
Being an ISTJ, I got all the, what I call “hard” traits; so I’m a justice over mercy type person who likes rules. It’s why I love structure and don’t have a spontaneous bone in my body. I work well with details and facts because I take in things via the five senses so I excel in those areas, but even though I adore thinking about concepts and big-picture things, I don’t work well with those things. I would get frustrated when I had to work with big-picture things and didn’t know why before I knew I was an ISTJ, and now that I know, so much frustration is avoided.
Now, that’s only the tip of the iceberg in what I learnt about myself and how it helped me practically. I’ll give one more example of how it helped, and I use this one to show how knowing your personality is valuable because you can mould and manage it when you understand it.
As I said, I got all the “hard” traits. This was something I didn’t particularly like about myself, because I knew the importance of caring about people and not just doing things the way I liked them with rules, structure and cold hard facts. I knew there were also things called feelings and intuition, and I worked to develop my softer side.
That’s one of the great things about being an ISTJ: once we see the value of something, we wholeheartedly run with it. We’re not stubborn and don’t cling to our own ways when we see the validity of something new or different. So now I can be a mercy over justice person, not because that’s what I naturally go towards, but because I’m aware of other factors that might override justice, things that have become important to me since learning about my personality.
And now I can come out as an ISFJ with my feeling trait more developed. The profile doesn’t fit me as well as the ISTJ one and I will always naturally tend towards thinking over feeling, but because I’m aware of this, I can override it and use my feeling side. So you see, without knowing I was an ISTJ, I wouldn’t know that I lacked this feeling trait or that I was a thinker, so I wouldn’t have known how to do anything about it. All I had was this vague idea that I was a hard person who wanted to care more but couldn’t bring myself to do so because I didn’t know how I worked.
Now let me qualify this by saying, there’s nothing wrong with being a justice over mercy person and if that’s the way you want to stay, go for it. There are many other traits I have that I’m perfectly fine with and even though others might look down on them, I won’t change them because I’m cool with it.
The key is that MBTI can help you accept all of your traits and you can either love them or change the ones you’re not so keen about. I’m not sure I believe you can change your underlying preferences, but I do think you can override them if you understand them and work to develop the other preferences.
I will rave about MBTI because it helped me understand how I see and do things and I’ve benefited so much from it in so many practical ways. Have you ever had a light-bulb moment from understanding something about your personality? Maybe you’ll get one when you do the test. Here it is: MBTI
In my next post I’ll give an overview of the MBTI so you’ll have a better idea of what I mean when I talk about traits, preferences, etc.
I’m an advocate of the personality test because understanding yourself and others are always a good thing. Knowing your personality can be helpful for many reasons including:
I’m not about personality being a box people are put in and being something that is restricting. Personality is dynamic and the personality test is simply a tool to know yourself better. It allows you to know what you’ve got so you can work with it.
Knowing about personality also helps you to understand, appreciate and get along with people of different personality types. The first step is being aware that differences exist and the second step is understanding those differences. Conflict can be avoided by understanding how other people see things since we all think differently and value different things.
Get to know and love your personality but remember you are more than your personality, and personality tests will only reveal a part of your personality. Different tests may show you different things about yourself but there will be unique things about you that don’t match the personality profiles. No personality test will be able to describe or explain you completely but their worth comes from the amount they do explain.
Here’s a selection for you to try:
I know not everyone is a fan of personality test but they’ve been very valuable in my life. What do you think of the personality test and which ones do think are most accurate?
Stay tuned for a post about MBTI – the best personality test I’ve found that has helped me so much.
The work shows that brain regions that process negative emotions (for example, anger and sadness) are overactive in people with BPD, while brain regions that would normally help damp down negative emotions are underactive.
People with BPD tend to have unstable and turbulent emotions which can lead to chaotic relationships with others, and which put them at higher risk than average for suicide. A number of brain imaging studies have found differences in the function of brains of people with BPD, but some of the studies have been contradictory.
A team led by Anthony C. Ruocco, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and program in neuroscience, analyzed data from 11 previously published studies and confirmed a number of important differences between people with BPD and those without.
On the one hand, a brain area called the insula – which helps determine how intensely we experience negative emotions – is hyperactive in people with BPD. On the other hand, regions in the frontal part of the brain – which are thought to help us control our emotional reactions – are underactive.
“It’s not just that they have too much drive from their emotions,” Ruocco says. “They seem to have less of the ‘brakes’