I wrote last night about the Myers-Briggs personality test, and my (and seemingly all of my blogging friends) results –ENFJ. Which means our test answers expressed us as: Extroverts, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging. To be fair to the true J’s out there, I’m only slightly “Judging” – which, my research leads me to believe means that I’m a big fan of organization and order but not always an active participant. I can buy that.
So, it’s fun to Google your four-letter designation. It’s fun to see that a slew of famous people would have answered in kind. And it’s good to see that my Biblical hero, David took time out of his busy day as King to take himself a Myers-Briggs test. I’m proud to have been sewn of similar fabric.
But, after reading all things Myers-Briggs, I’m left with another question.
What do we do now that we know we aren’t alone? That now, we might have some explanation for our past failings and idiosyncrasies. Because those things are nice to know; I believe it’s important to know that there’s others out there wired just like you. But that’s only part of our development; it’s only halfway through the journey. Effectively, that brings us to… now. And, now is pretty important.
I’ve found profound value in the Myers-Briggs system, but by no means do I believe it’s an exhaustive inventory of our inclinations or unalterable itinerary of our futures. I think its greatest significance lies in being a resource for giving us an unbiased (and, sometimes uncanny) look into our moving parts.
To be sure, there’s healing found in looking into the past, but you can’t drive forward while looking in the rear-view mirror. Knowing that I’m an ENFJ who struggles with taking things personally loosens up some of the strings of guilt I’d tied to so many situations but, I drive a Subaru, not a DeLorean, so I can hope that others have forgiven me, but I’m powerless to change what’s happened.
So, what now? What do we do with this insight?
A friend once told me that “giving himself permission to be the guy who starts things” was one of best realizations of his life. He’d punished himself for years because he chose a less-than-glamorous profession and couldn’t understand why he struggled so much to finish projects. It poisoned his position; he couldn’t find contentment. So, in finding this kind of psychological community, he ultimately found self-respect in recognizing his role as “the guy who starts things” and responsibility to be exactly that.
I’m working on having that posture as well. I’m a starter, I’m an encourager. I’m a doer, but I get bored easily. I hate details and I struggle with routine.
And, that’s okay. No, it’s better than okay, it’s perfect, because that’s who I’ve been designed to be. I know I’ve frustrated people because I don’t live in the details, and I’m not much of a planner – but, oh, let me tell you about my ideas. I want to come to accept that my inspiration is front-loaded, that I’m happiest in the beginning of projects and it takes true and forced effort to finish them. I’m working towards being proud of that. Of course, stuff needs doing, and I’m working towards that as well, but it’s important to unload the burden of living someone else’s life.
So, what now?
Now, we give ourselves permission to be who we are.