There seems to be a mold that we are all supposed to fit into, individuality be damned! If you find yourself outside of that formula, well…something must be wrong with you. I found myself being very weighed down by my PTSD diagnosis. Everything that seemed different about me was, in my mind, due to that “damn PTSD.” If my trauma had not occurred then I would be normal, just like everybody else. Discovering the Myers-Briggs Personality Test was a freeing moment for me. I found that some of the things I blamed on my negative experiences, is just part of who I am. That some of the things I saw as negatives, were actually positives, gifts if you will. We are not supposed to be like everyone else, we are unique originals and should embrace our identity.
What is the Myers-Briggs Test? It is technically called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and is an introspective questionnaire, basic questions about how you feel about situations like being with other people, or how you prefer to tackle a project, things you like or dislike. You have to answer honestly, not what you wish you were. This indicator is widely used in the business world to test potential employees. There is some debate to the accuracy of it, one of the reasons being that the results can change if taken more than once. I have gotten the same type every time I have taken it but I can see how results can vary based on honesty in answers and life experiences. I would suggest approaching this as a tool for understanding and not a life changing event. It takes approximately 15 minutes to take and is 93 questions. The official test can be found at www.mbtionline.com. There is a cost of $49.95 but you do get a full explanation of results. I have found that I get the same results from the free ones as well so depending on your level of interests, you can determine your investment. A free abbreviated version can be found at www.humanmetrics.com.
The MBTI is set up on the basis of four key elements that everyone holds.
Extrovert(E) or Introvert(I)
Sensing(S) or Intuitive(N)
Thinking(T) or Feeling(F)
Perception(P) or Judgement(J)
There is a misunderstanding due to popular uses of the word extrovert and introvert to equate these terms to outgoing and shy, but that is not the case. It refers to either being outward turning or inward turning. Extraversion draws energy from action, act first reflect later. Introversion expends energy through action preferring to reflect, act, then reflect some more. An introvert needs quiet time to recharge. An extrovert recharges through action/activity. Being an introvert does not mean that you are socially awkward or timid, it simply means you look inside for answers first before taking action.
Sensing and Intuitiveness describes how information is understood. People who are sensing, want concrete information. They need something that can be proven with the five senses. An intuitive, will look at patterns and how things may relate to other issues. They look for underlying meanings.
Decision making in our personality type is determined through Thinking and Feeling. Thinkers approach decisions using logic and weighing out the best course of action through that. Feeling types will look more at circumstance and how a decision might affect someone’s needs. They look deeper into the issue and how it might be affecting the problem individually.
The last elements, Perception and Judging, refer to lifestyle preferences. Not to be confused with being “judgmental,” it refers to whether or not you approach life in a more structured fashion (judging) or a more flexible way (perceiving). Judgers like to plan and make choices early. A Perceiver will keep their options open and avoid making decisions too soon. Not because they are procrastinators, but because they prefer flexibility. They are much more curious in nature.
These four categories classify into 16 personality types. I was going to write out a description of each type but it was making for some boring reading so I found a handy-dandy visual that summarizes them fairly accurately.
You can also find visuals that tell you which princess personality you are…
Or Star Wars character…
So yeah there is some silliness out there, still, it’s always nice to know that I equate to Pocahontas or Obi-Wan Kenobi. But seriously, there is something to this! For example, I feel like I can read a person fairly well, fairly quickly. If I am getting a negative vibe, I tend to want to blame paranoia (hypervigilance) from PTSD. But as an INFJ, I apparently have a natural ability to pick up on small cues. Instead of “my trauma is hindering my friendships,” it is now, “I am good at reading people, I’ll approach with caution.” At public events where I am dealing with crowds and other hustle and bustle, I come home exhausted. Instead of thinking my exhaustion is due to anxiety, I now know that I need to refuel and recharge after these events because I am naturally an introvert. I just need a little self-care. Don’t we all?
What will you learn about yourself? Take the test and find out! I learned that I have the rarest personality type, only 1-3% of the general population is an INFJ. That makes me kind of a unicorn…