I remember so clearly the first time I ever took a personality test. I was 14 and my parents were just getting into self-discovery and how personality and personal strengths impact our daily lives and relationships. They had an extra Myers-Briggs packet and told me to take it because it would be interesting to see what I got… (If you haven’t taken this test, I would highly recommend it. Know that there is extensive research that has been done on personality types and this is not the only way of evaluating yourself. Also, your type can change, and by no means is it a complete guide for everything about you. People are infinitely complex and no test can do you justice! I do find it extremely helpful to know these things about yourself in the process of personal growth and in relating to my surroundings). But, before I believed any of that, 14 year old me took the test. When I got the results, I was so excited because it was ME. Everything made sense, and I felt like I was finally able to express some parts of me because they were right there on paper. There were four very important aspects about me that clicked, and explained why I am the way I am.
Myers-Briggs talks about your personality type in preferences. (You can read more about it here). These preferences help you understand exactly how you perceive the world and how you prefer to relate to people, to ideas, to facts…Basically, how you take in your world. My personality test revealed I am an ISTJ: An introverted, sensing, thinking, judging person. This has all sorts of implications that you can read about (and discover your own type while you’re at it!) Today, I just want to unpack the first one a little bit.
I am an introvert.
This preference has to do with how you gain your energy, whether through time alone, or with other people or activities. I most definitely identify with the first part of that statement. I need time alone to process events, to feel like I can relate to people in the best way possible, and to be honest, to be happier. The reason I stress knowing yourself, these key components of who you are, is because it is hard enough to navigate through life and friendships and parties and schools and countries and cultures as it is. By discovering these facts about yourself, you are simply preparing yourself better for whatever situations you find yourself in down the road (or across an ocean).
As a citizen of the world (TCK, expat, these words fit too) there are certain expectations of what you will be like, of how you will act, and of how you will respond to different situations. Being an introvert sometimes goes against those ideals and so awareness is key; to know how to combat the feelings of “not good enough”, and to know that its OKAY to be who you are, even if its the opposite of what you should be. Who knows the “right” thing to do anyway?
Two sources I’ve enjoyed are: 1. Another blogger, Rachel Pieh Jones (of Djibouti Jones) talks about The Introverted Expat and has some awesome insight into the subject as an introvert herself. And, 2. A classic TED Talk by Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts – because, who doesn’t love TED Talks? Check those out and let me know what you think! If you take the Myers-Briggs, tell me about yourself! If you are an introvert too, do you have any tips on navigating through this extraverted, globalized world?