24 February, 2011

Personalities: we are not the same person

Been delving into a bit of personality stuff again. Back when we began applying to become missionaries we had to undergo a psychology assessment, including a Myers-Briggs Personality assessment. (Check here for an explanation.) I have to say I've been very grateful in subsequent years for the insights into my personality that came from that assessment.

It really does help to 'know thyself'. Some things just make more sense when you understand that you tend to interact with the world in a certain way. For example, I struggle with muscle tension. The following statement shows me that it is probably a life-long condition (and yes, I am an ENFP):
They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things...Because they are so alert and sensitive, constantly scanning their environments, ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension.*
I'd always assumed I was an introvert until I did that Myers-Briggs 13 years ago. But still, it confused me that I was an extrovert and yet needed time alone. This statement helps a little in understanding myself:
Unlike other Extraverted types, ENFPs need time alone to center themselves, and make sure they are moving in a direction which is in sync with their values.*
This rings very true to what I know about what I value:
ENFP needs authenticity and depth in their close relationships. *
From a negative perspective, I found this in my personality profile:
May feel intense anger towards people who criticise them or try to control them. But will be unable to express the anger. Left unexpressed, the anger may fester and simmer and become destructive.*
That is something I need to work on. It doesn't happen very often, but occasionally it does and is very distressing because I really value harmonious relationships.

But a good thought to end on is this:
I know I can't expect you to want the same things that I want.
We are not the same person, so we will not always see things the same way.
If we could all keep that in mind, then perhaps we'd have more harmonious relationships all round.

*The quotes on this page come from http://personalitypage.com/.


Janet said...

Reading through this, made me wonder if I am an ENFP too! I'm actually an ESFJ, we share an E and F in common, so maybe that's why there are some similarities. Will have to check out the webpage you sourced this info from. And how timely is your post - I also am suffering muscle tension today - probably just hormonal - but still!!

Helen said...

I'm almost your opposite and I have lots of muscle tension! I've never understood the 'constantly scanning the environment' line in that profile. I'm married to an ENFP, you are a rare breed!

Wendy said...

Helen - Your hubbie is ENFP - really? "constantly scanning the environment" probably means we're always on the lookout for something new and exciting. There is also a significant element of perception when with people that takes a lot of energy. What's Pete's perspective on it?

And I'm certain we don't have the corner on muscle tension. It was just interesting to find it there. It is in your profile?

KarenKTeachCamb said...

Thanks for this Wendy. You are so right about how much understanding our own personality can make life easier to understand. I'm your total opposite, an ISTJ, and at times that gets me into trouble in the classroom, but understanding how my personality interacts with students of different personality types has really been helpful this year. I keep going back to a book on using personality types to differentiate in the classroom, and it also has some great insight that helps me with day to day management of students who have different personality types to mine.

I agree you don't have a monopoly on muscle tension. I struggle with that one too!

Great post.

Mrs Q said...

Janet, I'm an ESFJ too, but I empathise with the need to take 'time out', especially when I'm feeling a little stressed with too much going on. I need that time to just gel out and re-focus. When I looked through the ESFJ profile I could agree with almost all of it (self-assessment) but there were some things that I felt didn't ring true. It's worth remembering that nothing's perfect at describing personalities.