Sunday, 11 December 2016

Jess, Unfolded

My fascination with psychology started at a young age. I remember observing my surroundings & realizing that I seemed to see the world differently that how my peers did. Understanding my differences & the reasons for them consumed me often. So it was only suiting that I fell into a psychology major in my years pursuing my arts degree. One of my profs administered the Myer's Briggs Personality Type test, which dates back to the 1920's & is still used widespread to this day. My results were a bit revolutionary in understanding myself. I was fascinated by how accurate it was and how simply something so complicated could be boxed into a category. Of course, life isn't that simple & who we are is also influenced by our environment, experiences, & personal goals, but at the same time it is fascinating (and a little creepy) how accurate, even to this day, my personality type description  fits my profile.

It's been years since I took that test & haven't paid much attention to it until just recently, during some soul searching. Encountering emotions with a new intensity sent me seeking a better understanding of where this is coming from, why I feel what I feel & what I can do with it. The latter is a bit of a mystery, but reading my profile shed a lot of light on my habits of coping with life, the source of my feelings, my needs, & how I interact with people around me.

So let me tell you about myself. I am an INFP, aka the mediator, as described on the following  website:

"INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. 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." 

After reading this there was no doubt in my mind the test was accurate. This couldn't be more true for me, especially that last part. Reading on just reaffirmed this assurance, but also validated who I am & allowed me to be more accepting to myself unconditionally. (apparently INFPs are known to be hard on themselves). My fascination is further explained by the fact that understanding themselves and their place in the world is important to INFPs.

Without going into too much detail (as I am sure you aren't as fascinated by my personality type as I am) there were a few key things that really resonated with me & helped me to understand some of the odd challenges I face. For example, I have a phone phobia. It seems ridiculous & my husband laughs about it, but speaking on the phone makes me extremely uncomfortable so I will do what I can to avoid having to make a phone call. This has been amplified since having kids. I have always been aware of this odd anxiety, & found it even stranger that it didn't get easier with experience. To my surprise the personality type explanation on the said website explains where this anxiety comes from

"INFPs prefer to conduct in person, for that personal touch, or in writing, where they can compose and perfect their statements. People with the INFP personality type avoid using phones if they can, having the worst of both worlds, being both detached and uncomposed." 

Who knew?!

Understanding my personality allows me to understand better how I fit into my world. These insights have been helpful in understanding my relationships - my marriage, my friendships, the people I am drawn to & those rare deep personal connections.  It has reaffirmed my creative spirit, outlets for self-expression & it has shed clarity on the challenges I face. My desire to know myself better, fascination with the psyche, idealistic views, constant soul searching clarified. Also, it has given me permission (and reminds me) to accept others for their differences, & to realize that our unique traits are not downfalls but what makes we as humans function together.

What type are you? Are there any other INFPs out there? I encourage you to try out the simplified  online test. You might learn something about yourself!

(Fun fact: my 2 closest friends are INFJs, the rarest of all personality types!)

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