Sanguine, Splanguine, Whatever!

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:

 Image

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!

For example…

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?

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9 thoughts on “Sanguine, Splanguine, Whatever!

  1. I really like your idea of being a walking contradiction- it is probably more common than we give credit for, especially in ourselves. It would also make us more careful and cirucmspect about the ways we box people.

    My list of walking (sometimes jogging!) contradictions:

    I am a talkative introvert. (!)

    I’m laid back when someone else is in charge, and bossy when it seems like chaos.

    I love medium-sized groups of people, but get absolutely jaded of it all after a period of time.

    I love crunching lots of data, until I get bored of it half-way through and decided to make an educated guess based on what I know.

    I also tend to jump to conclusions, despite my love for data-crunching.

    I am extremely conservative. I also once dressed up as Batman in public.

    1. A jogging contradiction – haha!

      Yes, you are a bit of a contradiction – especially that last one. What’s with that?! Lol. But we all like you this way!

      1. Yes what was with that! After all the parties you were invited to dress up and you declined, the one party you were invited to dress normal you dress up! that is indeed a contradiction

  2. Good post Jess. One other area that I feel the personality testing falls short is that it doesn’t make room for growth – especially as we respond to the Holy Spirit.

    One area where I’m a contradiction is that I don’t like meeting new groups of people and yet I’m very comfortable talking to a crowd. Someone (like Grandad or Josh) will probably tell me why that is – but I always find that odd in myself.

  3. Good post, Jess! I really loved reading it, it was a great reminder, and I completely agree. Each of us is unique and we shouldn’t pin ourselves down and create unhealthy limitations. Also liked what your mom had to say about making room for growth. 🙂

    Hm…how am I a contradiction?…
    Actually, I have to second Joshua’s-
    “I’m laid back when someone else is in charge, and bossy when it seems like chaos.”
    That is a big one for me. 🙂 Otherwise I am going blank but I know there are many more. hehe

    Thanks so much for this!
    Rach

  4. A contradiction for me is that I LOVE being with people, but every once in awhile I have to retreat somewhere by myself to ‘recharge’ 😀 And I love to talk, but like you, will be quiet if I don’t know someone really well or am unsure of a situation 🙂

    Loved the post! It’s fun to do those tests, and I quite agree with you that we are much more complex than a simple personality 🙂 I also like what your mom said about leaving room for growth. 🙂

  5. Great post, Jess! The 4 personalities are a great way to discover why each of us act in different ways. I’m mal/phleg, being meticulous with things with writing and research but laid back in other areas (like schoolwork!!!!)
    The one thing to be mindful of with the temperments is, like your Mum mentioned, you’ve got to allow room for growth. Sometimes, we can say, “Well, I’m phlegmatic, that’s just the way I act”, when God wants to constantly grow deeper in Him and character.

  6. Hi ya, I loved your post – I’ve only ‘discovered’ personality tests in the last year (I was trying to figure out why I kept talking myself out of things), and like you I am walking box of contractions; a phlegmatic, INTJ – apparently I have big dreams but am indecisive …..how great is that. 😉 It’s heart-warming to know that other people feel the same, yet different too. 🙂 Happy New Year.

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