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Welcome to my island of sanity and serenity. I'm Sandra Pawula - writer, mindfulness teacher and advocate of ease. I help deep thinking, heart-centered people find greater ease — emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Curious? Read On!

Do You Know Your Personality Type?

"Whatever the circumstances of your life, the understanding of type can make your perceptions clearer, your judgments sounder, and your life closer to your heart’s desire.”  – Isabel Briggs Myers. Read more to learn about your personality type and how to optimize it.

Whatever the circumstances of your life, the understanding of type can make your perceptions clearer, your judgments sounder, and your life closer to your heart’s desire.”  - Isabel Briggs Myers

I’ve finally learned how to optimize my strengths, improve on my weaknesses, and enjoy my quirks by getting to know my personality type.  But first, I suffered far too many years from “square peg-round hole syndrome.”

I initially took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - a highly popular personality test - on a lark in my early adult years.  But I didn’t let the results penetrate my thinking, decision-making, or life choices.

Instead, I embarked on a career as a non-profit director, a choice far better suited for an extrovert, I feel.  I constantly dodged all the extroverted demands of the work like public speaking and networking and stumbled through others like team leadership.  Although my actual skill set applied to selected elements of the work, I often felt ill-at-ease, knowing I wasn’t fully living up to the desired expectations.

I worked in this state of dissonance for many years because this career fit some of my needs even though it wasn't ideal.  Eventually, I paid a price in the form of tension, stress, and a weakening of my self-esteem.

What a relief when circumstances changed and I began working as a freelance writer.  Finally, I felt in tune.  The opportunity to create in solitude at my own pace fed my whole being.

Personality Type:  A Doorway Into Wholeness

I hope you feel in harmony with your work, your relationships, and your entire life right now.  But if you feel ill-suited to any aspect of your life, you might consider taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to understand more about your personality type.

I didn’t come to understand my personality type in one fell swoop.  For me, clarity first began to dawn when I read Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking * a few years back.  This life-changing book affirmed my introverted nature and gave me the confidence to shape my life around my personality rather than trying to force myself into extroverted roles.  I began to accept, celebrate, and enjoy my introverted tendencies

A few years later, I learned (or re-learned) there’s even more to our personalities than introversion vs. extroversion alone. I took a facsimile of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as part of a course in the Peaceful Progress Lounge*, a special community for introverted women solopreneurs, which I highly recommend.

As a result, I rediscovered myself as an INFJ.

The 4 Dimensions of Personality Type

Let me explain the 4 dimensions that make up your personality type according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.  They are expressed by 4 of 8 possible letters like INFJ in my case.  This adds up to 16 different personality types.

Of course, when you take a test like this, you can fall on the far end of any spectrum or anywhere in between.  Thus, the 16 types aren’t absolute ways of being but more like 1001 possible flavors.  Still, understanding where you sit personality-wise, will give you a clear sense of who you are, what feeds you, and the work situations that will best utilize your talents rather than deplete and discourage you.

Here are the four dimensions of personality according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator:

  • Extraversion vs. Introversion [E or I]:  How you interact with the world.  Are you more energized by being around others or by being alone?
  • Sensing vs. Intuition [S or N]:  The way you relate to and notice information. Do you think in terms of discernible facts or abstract, imaginative ideas?
  • Thinking vs. Feeling [T or F]: Your decision-making process.  Are you influenced more by empathy, compassion, and the desire for cooperation or are you more logical and objective?
  • Judging vs. Perceiving [J or P]:  How you structure information.  Are you more structured, organized, and decisive or open, flexible, and receptive to new ideas and flow?

Understanding My Personality Type

In my case, INFJ spells out:

  • Introvert
  • Intuitive
  • Feeling
  • Judging

I've had many “aha!” moments arise as I delved into the INFJ personality type.  While it isn’t a 100% fit, the qualities and characteristics of the INFJ feel - for the most part - accurate and affirming for me.

Words that describe natural roles for the INFJ include:

  • Counselor
  • Visionary
  • Confidant
  • Mystic
  • Protector

I know some of these sound lofty, but we can express these roles in our own unique way of being.  There's no need to create an "epic" life unless that desire speaks to you.

Words that describe the qualities of the INFJ include:

  • Introspective
  • Sensitive
  • Empathic
  • Caring
  • Compassionate
  • Complex
  • Idealistic
  • Optimistic
  • Intuitive
  • Organized
  • Focused

I’ve been highly sensitive my entire life.  I’ve been told time and again not to be so emotional.  I dislike violent movies.  I easily pick up on other peoples’ feelings.

Learning about my personality type has helped me to further accept and honor my sensitivity.  I need to ground myself so I’m not buffeted about by other peoples’ energies.  At the same time, I appreciate my sensitivity and want to put it to positive use for myself and others.

Every personality type has its quirks too.  The INFJ can be stubborn and obsessive about detail (yes) and have a mercurial temperament (yes.)  Each type has an “inferior function,” which - for the INFJ - is extroverted sensing   That means I tend to have a rich inner life, but am less tuned into the sensations and experience of the immediate physical world.  No wonder why it’s so hard for me to stick to any sort of physical routine.

Here’s an empowering tip:  You can find greater wholeness by strengthening your inferior function.  For example, I’m attempting to build my extroverted sensing by spending more time in nature.

There’s so much more to know about an INFJ or your own personality type among the 16 possibilities.  These are just a few ways that personality type has helped me to feel well in my own skin and find relationships and work situations that nourish instead of deplete me.

How to Find Out More About Your Personality Type

I know it might seem odd that you could spend a good chunk of your life not fully understanding yourself and your needs.  I think it's because often we're trying to live up to external expectations and aren't necessarily encouraged to check in with our true self.  Using a tool like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator can be an eye-opening experience that leads to greater self-knowledge and deeper self-acceptance.

If you’re curious, find out more about your own personality type.  You can take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator from a certified practitioner, the free Jung Typology Test, or read about the different personality types to get a feel for which one fits you best.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator isn’t the only personality test available to you, but it’s one of the most popular ones and goes beyond career preferences alone to explore how you function in relationship to information, decision making, the world, and relationships.

Sources and Resources

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Do you know your personality type according to the Myers-Briggs system?  Has it helped you find deeper self acceptance?  I would love to hear.

P. S. I'm taking a week off to nurture myself like a good INFJ.  You'll see my next post on Sunday, April 5th.

Thank you for reading!  I so appreciate your presence.  I’d love it if you could take a moment to share this article on social media and spread the goodness. Thank you!  With love, Sandra

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