I’ve breezed through my years not knowing the importance of identifying my own personality type, or what’s more appropriately known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I’ve taken a lot of quizzes and exams and surveys from HR departments and institutions who needed to know where to classify you and how to understand you; but it never occurred to me how important it is to know your own personality type.
When I was younger, my parents would find me weird that I make decisions based on logic. That, when I argue, I would also have to number my thoughts and arrange them according to importance or degree of priority (at least in my perspective). At the age of six, I would be sitting by my dad, counting the number of beer bottles he promised to limit himself to for that night. I was pragmatic at almost everything I did and it was natural to me.
Growing older, I had two younger sisters. When I had my own bed (and then eventually my own room), I would automatically know someone was in there just by standing at the door. I know every spot, every corner, and every thing inside it and how I meticulously left it before I left the house.
I was forced to choose pink as a favorite color, because, who would have brown as their favorite color? My mom would always shop for pinks whenever I needed anything. And, because I was easily disturbed by the absence of pattern, I would choose pink every time to make it coincide with the rest of my other possessions. In secret, I really loved brown and green. Those were my real favorite. I also love black. Just plains. I disliked florals because it was too “noisy” for me. I would choose plaid for my handkerchiefs.
Books and writing was also something that feels close to home. I loved the days I discovered Nancy Drew. I love thinking, so the mysterious stories were really like how I would describe, hopping to an ice cream parlor on a perfectly sunny yet breezy day.
Movies were something I really love as well. No movie could disturb me that much, hence I really love horror movies. I sleep like a baby even after watching one in the dark. It really invites my imagination so much and I love being a critic of each one I see.
But, socializing is not within my strengths. However, I’m not shy. I’ve been seen singing, dancing in public. Doing stage performances, declamatory contests, giving a talk, etc. I never understood, why, even with a set of people I like, I would still retreat early in the night just to either watch TV, or read a book; or why I would get excited being invited to a party, only to not show up later on.
I only got curious a couple of months ago. I took a personality test at 16personalities.com and opened my eyes to understanding more about myself. Each page of the result felt like it was written after all the years of my life. Everything was on point! How could it be?!
COVID19 made me understand
On the outbreak of COVID19, most countries started implementing quarantine procedures, lockdowns to some extent. It was no different here. The first few days was scary. We had to buy some food and I was worried about what to eat. Here in Manila, being vegetarian is difficult because the vegetables have to be imported from the nearby provinces since we are in the city.
I opened myself up to the possibility of eating at least some seafood for days when I can’t get my vegetables. We had a lot of canned seafood since my partner is pescatarian anyway.
Throughout the early days of quarantine, I was so exhausted because I had the urge to repeatedly clean the unit every time either of us would leave the unit. I was washing more clothes everyday since we used to send our laundry to service. Since they were closed, I had to wash a handful everyday until I finish them all. I was also disinfecting the different areas of the unit at least twice a day. On top of it all, there was no change in my routine.
I have been working from home since 2013. Everyday, I would wake up, do my power routine, sweep the house and prep ingredients for breakfast before hitting my home office. By noon, I’ll be cooking my first meal of the day (I’ve been doing intermittent fasting since late 2018). In the late afternoon, I’m off from work and take a couple of minutes to watch the news. Then another round of cooking, dinner then I get to unwind either by watching more TV, read books, paint, journal, etc.
However, I’ve been reading more about people who are going crazy being at home. They’re extroverts. They get recharged when they’re with more people and mingling. I realize, being at home is not something natural for them. While, I was so chill at home (I haven’t even left the unit for straight 3 days before the quarantine was announced), some of them are having trouble coping with staying inside their houses.
That’s when I figured, it was our time. Introverts are now saving the world.. since forever!
Why Learn About Your Personality?
There are times, at least for me, during deep introspection, or times when I don’t really have anything urgent to do, or when I’m triggered by something, I get confused by my own thoughts. Why do I think so much about things? Why do I even think about some things? And others, not at all?
When I got to read through articles about my personality, I had to lighten up a bit and not take myself (nor the world) too seriously. Understanding what triggers me, I get to be smart about avoiding them. I seldom get stuck at some thoughts and situations that presses my buttons. It’s all about getting smart about living in your own skin, in your own head.
If you know who you are, you won’t get swayed when in a crowd. No amount of peer pressure, or any form of coercion would affect you. You will always feel comfortable how you want to be comfortable at situations. Isn’t that empowering?
When you’re also aware, you can attract the right attitude, the right resources that will allow you to flourish. You will succeed at areas that previously were unknown to you. It’s not that you lose some form of free-will, but you will get to control what is best for you; and leave the small details to your whim. Decision making would be less challenge, less time consuming, less confusing.
What Not To Do With It
So, I joined this local Facebook Group that I found. They were also INFJs like myself (I'm an INFJ-A). Of course the group was so small, but, one look at it, you’ll know that we all found the safe haven we were looking for. Instantly, I felt like, these are the people who would understand because they’re also in my shoes.
However, what I strongly feel against (that some do in the group) is to rely on a matrix of personality compatibility. i.e., INFJ with ENFP, etc. I strongly believe that to some degree, the compatibility might play a role in the success of a relationship, but it doesn’t replace hard work of a couple to keep it going.
Also, when in a misdoing, your personality type is not an excuse. Remember, your actions become predictable by learning your personality type, but it doesn’t merit you an excuse to do something wrong. Being aware that something is wrong and still doing it is a decision, not an accident–so don't justify.
How Being An Introvert Is Helping Me
I don’t have a lot of people I trust. Needless to say, people don’t necessarily find me “fun”. I mostly keep to myself. I’m very open, but I don’t expect a lot from others. Learning about my personality has helped me to understand why some of the past events of my life took place.
My cat, Nyey, was my only real true friend. I loved coming home to her, every day that I even had to leave the house. Because she has passed away, only after short 19yrs and 7mos together, I find it really twice as hard as a normal grief would be. I’ve lost many people (to death) in my life, but none as difficult as I’m going through now.
Being an introvert, I have to deal with my emotions mostly on my own. Seeing all the things she used at home, places she used to stay in—it becomes more challenging. There’s emotion in each and everything at home. However, being at home, I can also make new emotions, by doing things and experiencing new feelings to help me overcome the sad ones.
Maybe, one day, I will still get to finish the painting I started when she was still alive. The one she loved to sit on. When that’s done, I know I have finally replaced that sad emotion from that painting to a new one of joy and completion.
If you do take that personality test, let me know what you find out about yourself and how you plan to use it. Wishing you the best!