Have you ever taken a Myers-Briggs Personality Test? The test used to be a complete mystery to me, administered by therapists and researchers. But with the Great God Internet, it’s now available to anyone who wants to do a bit of self-psychoanalysis and personality study often for free, or for just a few dollars. I took the test at 16personalities.com. It’s entirely possible that these websites are an enormous front for the military/industrial complex, which wants to have vectors of all our personalities so they can download them into humanoid robots–but, hey, it’s a pretty fun test. And after we are downloaded into robots, we’ll have some kind of super-bodies, so I’ll call it a win-win.
In 1921, Carl Jung came up with descriptions of personality types. In the 1940s, two women, Katherine Cooke Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers expanded on Jung’s work and came up with sixteen personality types.
I took the test about five years ago and learned I’m an INFP. I must admit that I was fascinated to read about my own personality. Having done busloads of therapy work over my lifetime, I like to think that I know myself reasonably well. One appealing part of the test results that the 16Personalities people offer is the positive spin they put on the individual profiles. Sure, there are weaknesses, too. Those are a bit startling, but we all know we have weaknesses and challenges, right? Reading the results is a look like reading your astrological profile, only it’s more scientific. I’m a Cancer, by the way.
INFP is an acronym for Introspective, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perception. I find it interesting that these are all qualities that similarly describe people born under the sign of Cancer. Wikipedia describes Cancers as: introspective, phlegmatic, cardinal*, nocturnal, tenacious, intuitive, emotional, indolent, domestic, eloquent, refined, empathic, and clairvoyant. (I’m not sure what the heck “cardinal” is supposed to mean. Merriam Webster notes: “Our word cardinal goes back to the Latin adjective cardinalis, which meant ‘serving as a hinge.'”) Perception agrees with empathic and clairvoyant, feeling with emotional, and introspective and intuitive appear in both descriptions. I wonder if anyone has ever done a cross-reference of astrological signs and personality types. That would be fascinating. Do they validate each other similarly with other personality types and signs?
Of course, no one is going to be exactly as their profile describes. There’s a whole lot of nurture or not-nurturing between childhood and adulthood. For instance, I’m rather more empathetic with friends and acquaintances than I am with the people closest to me. Unfortunately, with my loved ones I can be too critical.
What got me started thinking about the test was recognizing that most of my decision-making is made out of either my feelings or an ideological position–but mainly my feelings. It’s a risky way to live, and I finally see that not everyone approaches their decision-making the way I do. And thank goodness for that. (Though one of the ways, it’s said, to tell if a man or woman has written something is to note how often characters are said to feel things. I bet you can guess which is which.) Sometimes I could do with a little less feeling and a lot more logic.
From the 16Personalities INFP page: “INFPs are prone to internalizing even objective statements and facts, reading into them themes and exaggerated consequences, sometimes responding as though these comments are metaphors designed to threaten the very foundations of their principles. Naturally this is almost certainly an overreaction, and INFPs should practice what they preach, and focus on improving their ability to respond to criticism with calm objectivity.” Ouch. Drama, drama, drama! But lest you think I’m beating up on myself, the profile had many positive attributes that I identify with as well.
Self-examination is always challenging. Taking a test like this is like having a cheat sheet. You can list the attributes of your profile and figure out which do actually apply to you. Then you can work of the things that you’d like to change. Sounds easy-peasy, yes? Okay, maybe not easy. But it’s a start.
Have you taken the test? If you have, what’s your profile? If not, then give it a shot. Knowledge is power.
March 16th Words
Journal: 55 words
Long fiction: (Rewrote 2 scenes)
Short fiction: 0 words
Non-fiction: 0 words
Blogging: 729 words
Exercise: 30 minutes bike, 15 minutes Pilates