You know that song, ‘Introvert, Extrovert (doesn’t matter)’? OK, so that’s the only line that I know off that song, but it’s something we sing out all the time. Nomi’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. Sometimes us kids really make Mum and Dad wonder how we could all come out of the same gene pool – we are all so different! This picture sums Josh and Nomi up pretty much perfectly:
Over the last 18 months we, as a family, have talked a lot about different personality types, such as sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic, and chloric; then there’s the Myers-Briggs system with INTJ, ESFP, and so on. At first I thought I was a mel-sang, but now I think I’m a bigger combination of sanguine-phlegmatic-melancholic (which Josh reckons tallies up to a chloric anyway!) As far as the Myers-Briggs personality test goes, I’ve never fully worked it out. I’ve come to the conclusion, however, that although these things are fine and good, they don’t tell the full story, and they can box you and put pressure on you to be something you aren’t.
The problem is that sometimes categorising systems don’t cover all bases. And how can we expect personality tests to do that to us, anyway? There are the four main ones, and there are 36 combinations in the Myer-Briggs test. God has created so many people in the earth’s lifetime that surely they can’t all fit neatly into 36 options! I know they are meant as a generalisation, and there is nothing wrong with the tests, but in some cases, I am simply a walking contradiction!
I am definitely not a night owl, but I need lots of sleep, too, so give me a few moments to decide to wake up in the morning.
I’m an introvert who’d go batty without people.
I recharge by being by myself and either reading a recreational book, or creating something.
I wish I could teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, but I also have opinions that are worth fighting for.
I am laid back but also very motivated and energetic.
I think way too hard about some things, and can’t be bothered with others.
I love the outdoors and the ‘good ole days’ but am also pretty tech-savvy.
I prefer comfort over fashion but I still care about how I look.
When I’m sewing, I am a far cry from a perfectionist (“ah, it’ll do!”), but if I’m studying something, I feel a sense of responsibility to be meticulous and know, understand, and remember everything.
Sometimes I can perceive something, other times I want to know and see the information before making a decision. I’ve never worked out the perception, intuitive, feeling, and truth aspects to the Myer-Briggs personality test!
I’m quiet and reserved, especially in new situations, but when I know where I’m standing, watch out – Jessica’s joined the party!
I love to read, and I thought Great Expectations by Charles Dickens was great. I have a respect and curiosity towards the classics. I enjoy fantasy fiction, too. But reading Lord of the Rings has just never caught my fancy.
Speaking of LOTR, I am generally a stickler for reading the book before I watch the movie (or watching the movie because someone else in the family has just finished reading the book) and I generally think the book is better anyway, but I am quite content having watched Lord of the Rings movies before reading the books, and leaving it at that (at least for now!
As a side note, there is a flip side to what I’m saying where the whole personality trait tests can really help. It’s been quite freeing to know that I am an introvert who, like a melancholy, recharges by being by myself and doing something creative. It’s helped me prioritise creative time on the weekend, sometimes over extra social activities, and when I take that down time, I feel so relaxed and rejuvenated because of it! When Mum and Dad took a personality test years ago, they realised they processed making decisions differently. Mum wants to hash out the information and options with people, but Dad likes to research all the information and chew it over in his head before he settles on something. Knowing they function this way has helped them to communicate better.
And so there needs to be a balance – personality tests are good, and can help us understand how we tick, and are fun to play around with, but I am so much more complex than one simple personality. I’d rather be known as Jessica Letchford than this or that. I think I’d rather know you as you, too, with all your quirks. Don’t let ideas box you into a generalisation that you aren’t. Be yourself! So tell me – in what ways are you a walking contradiction?