I recently took one of those Facebook “tests”. You know, the ones that reveal your hippie name, which woodland creature you are, or what state you should be living in. If my results can be trusted, I’m Sunshine the hedgehog from California! These tests are fun, but usually leave me a bit annoyed at the time I have wasted taking them. This test was different. It was a Myers-Briggs personality type indicator test, and the results left me deep in thought and intrigued to learn more.
Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers published the first questionnaire in 1962. But they began researching and creating the personality preferences in the 1940s after extensively studying the work of Carl Jung. Jung believed that everyone experiences the world through four principal psychological functions: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking, and that one is dominant most of the time. Katharine and Isabel took this theory and, through their questionnaire, gave it a practical application. They believed it would “help women who were entering the industrial workforce for the first time to identify the sort of war-time jobs that would be ‘most comfortable and effective’ for them.”*
Today, the test is frequently used for team building, career counseling, marketing, leadership training, life coaching, personal and professional development, and marriage counseling.
The results of this personality test revealed that I am an INFJ – Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging (I have since taken a different version and got the same result).
When first reading the quick descriptions of all the types, I found bits of myself in every one of them. The generic initial descriptors left me wondering about the validity of the results. It felt like I was reading horoscopes that could be talking about anyone – basic human traits. But then, I saw this: Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the rarest of all types.
Who doesn’t want to learn more about how rare they are, right? So I read on. Here are some bullet points on INFJs:
- gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive.
- artistic and creative, and live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities.
- know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand.
- uncanny insight into people and situations – you get a “feeling” about things and intuitively understand them.
- have experiences of a psychic nature. Other types scoff and scorn at this type of thing, and you don’t really understand your intuition at a level which can be verbalized, so you are protective of your inner self, and share only what you choose to share – you hold back parts of yourself and can be secretive.
- trust your own instincts above all else. This makes you look stubborn to others – because you often ignore their opinions.
- a natural nurturer, patient, and protective of those you love.
The list goes on and on, and delves into great detail about every nuance of this personality type. The more I read, the more “right” it all felt (the good, the bad and the ugly). And when I read the full description, I actually learned a few things. Now I understand that it is natural that I can’t always put into words the “knowing” I sometimes feel, or the “feelings” and “intuitions” that just come to me, with great confidence. I don’t have to beat myself up when I can’t “think on the spot” – I know that my personality needs time to let it percolate, time to sleep on it and let my intuition tell me what feels right.
Also, I’ve always known that I can be bossy and stubborn and unapologetically hard-nosed when I feel strongly about something, and it has caused me a great amount of confusion and guilt in the past, because I can’t explain why I feel so strongly. Now I know that it’s an integral part of my being to feel strongly about things that can’t be seen, touched, or explained.
From now on, I will stop trying to reconcile the dichotomies within my own personality – the seeming opposites, the discrepancies, the contradictions. I am complex and intuitive, sensitive, artistic and a little bit psychic – and, with a little science to back it up, I’m finally learning how to be comfortable in this skin.
And best of all, I’ve learned that not all of those Facebook “tests” are a total waste of time 🙂
What personality type are you? Do you agree with your test results?
*Source Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Wikipedia page