Wednesday, 15 July 2015

How Sue Classifies Myers-Briggs Personality Types

As everyone who speaks to me or reads my blog knows, I love to figure out which personality type everybody I know fits in to. Of course lots of people resent that, because they think I'm putting them in a box and labelling them, but what I'm REALLY doing is trying to understand and therefore relate to them better.

I realize that maybe it's to much to expect random acquaintances to sit down and do an actual test, so I have a quick and easy set of questions to ask them to assign them to the right box. Here goes..

Introvert vs Extrovert (I vs. E)

That's easy. Do you get your energy from being with people (E) or from being alone (I)? (note: I didn't ask if you were antisocial hermit because not all introverts are antisocial hermits). Also do you process your thoughts and feelings with other people (E) or alone (I)? (This is why I'm wondering if I'm an ambivert.) Do you live more in your own head (I), or more in the outside world (E)? Do you occasionally need to hide in a bathroom during a party (I), or do you think you're going to go crazy if you're alone for a few hours (E)? Do you find the idea of having the house to yourself for a few days exciting (I) or terrifying (E)?

Introvert Cat is apparently a thing.

Sensing vs. iNtuition 

Do you try to find patterns and underlying meanings to the things you see around you (N) or do you just take things as you see them (S)? For an N, someone offers help, and they wonder, "Does that person think I'm weak? Or are they trying to show they are more capable than me? Or are they secretly in love with me?" An S just hears a person offering help. Of course there are pros and cons to every aspect of a personality type. So there are no bad guys or good guys. An N is far more likely to read too much into everything, but they are also likely to be sensitive to actual underlying factors that are not obvious to S's. An S is the last person to realize that X is secretly in love with Y, and that Z has been unhappy about it for months. On the other hand, S's are far more easy going because they aren't affected by moods and drama.

 Thinking vs. Feeling 

Okay, if I was being negative this is how I would ask: Do you get your feelings hurt really easily? Do you cry a lot? You're definitely an F. Do you sometimes wonder if you're cold, unfeeling and insensitive? Do you get frustrated by illogical behaviour? You're probably a T. But when I'm being kinder, and more balanced, I'd ask "Do you more easily empathise with people? F. Are you able to logic yourself out of a negative emotion? T." And there you have the pros and cons. 

Perceiving vs Judging 

Are you open ended, happy with multiple possible solutions (P), or do you need a definite answer to every question (J). P's are more adaptable, but are often indecisive. J's are obsessed with clarity, they love black and white, which is good when it comes to standing up for truth and justice. Not so good when they want to impose the black and white on morally neutral issues, or start thinking their opinion is the another name for 'the only right way to do things'. 

When you're trying to decide which personality type best describes you, it's good to remember there are scales you can move up or down, and that you can develop different parts of your personality. Although I still mostly identify as an INTJ, I no longer think I'm just a cold mastermind.

I'm moved closer to the E side (ambivert?), am far more empathetic and F-ish than I used to be (effect of living with many F's and asking God for grace to grow in empathy and sensitivity),

and I've slid down from the very J side, closer to the P's, even accepting that I MAY not be right.about EVERYTHING, (although I'm still right about most things). Actually one of my favourite quotes is St. Augustine's "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity." I'm trying to model my conversations and convictions on that principle.

Okay, so what are you?

Friday, 10 July 2015

Jesus Knows My Love Language

I went for Confession two weeks ago, and my penance was unexpected.

"Ask God to let you experience His love more. Maybe you are turning to some of your sins, because you don't fully believe God's love can satisfy."

As an INTJ, my faith isn't often touchy-feely. I am far less likely than an ENFP to post this kind of image:

I'm usually more like:

I'm won over by a good argument, I love reading Fr. Robert Barron, Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn, Jennifer Fulwiler and Simcha Fisher.

The analytical part of my personality often makes it difficult for me to just BE with people, and often to receive or give love easily. That includes God. I get scared when I'm expected to 'love on' people, and there may have been times when all three of my roommates would be on the same bed rubbing each others' backs, while I would be on my own bed. By myself. With a book. But over the years, God (and some of the people He has put in my life) have softened my edges quite a bit. I now even voluntarily hug people (occasionally)!

So when the priest asked to me to ask God for an experience, I did... even though my logical brain reminded me that whether or not I 'felt' anything, didn't mean God loved me any more or less. I don't NEED an experience, love is made up of the will. Mother Teresa suffered many years of dryness, yet I'm sure God didn't love her any less.

What I forgot was God's extravagance, and how He gives more than we can ask or imagine when we ask with childlike faith. Also I forgot that God DOES want me to know His love, not just abstractly believe it. Not in a shallow touchy-feely way, but in a deeper, intimate way, something like the lyrics of the song 'Known' by Audrey Assad.

In the days following my prayer, I began to taste a new intimacy with Jesus. I have often told Him. "I KNOW You love me, Lord, and I KNOW You are enough, but you can't physically hug me, or make me feel your love in a tangible way."

Well, last week, He proved He could.

I have a fairly odd love language. I mean I love physical touch (receiving, not giving), acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation and quality time. But none of them are my go-to to receive love. What makes me feel super special and loved is when someone plays with my hair. I used to bribe children to play hairdresser with my hair.

So you know what God gave me?


I am not even kidding. A friend said she knew people from a hairstyle academy who needed 'models' to work on, and would I like to go. Would I!! What made it even more special was that for two weeks I had been trudging through the filthy streets of Kolkata, living with friends who are trying to live a life in solidarity with the poor, and between the sweat-rolling-down-our-bodies humidity, the muddy, dirty, trash-and-human-waste-everywhere streets and the discomfort of rubbing shoulders with and smelling the human masses every day (not to mention suffering the humiliation of bad hair days... everyday, because of the humidity), our life was far from a pampered one.

This was the subdued version of my hair after a few days in humid Kolkata

For four hours, in a quiet air-conditioned room, my hair was washed, dried, every section 'treated', blow-dried, curled, my head massaged, and my hair made to look and feel awesome. Meanwhile I sat back and read a book- Strange Gods which I've been wanting to read for a while, and I just 'happened' to find in my friends' little apartment. In Kolkata. In India. What? It really happened!!!

I was so excited that I wanted to take photos of my experience. Unfortunately hair salons are one of my social anxiety hotspots (Am I obligated to talk to people? What about? Am I being too silent? Is it rude? Are they judging my terrible haircare? etc) so I felt too nervous to take pictures while my hairstylist was around, but every time he went to get something I'd sneakily take out my itouch and take a few grainy pictures.

So here you go:

Please don't notice me, please don't notice me!

The friend who also got a taste of 4 hours of being loved on by Jesus

Through the years of growing in a relationship with Jesus, I've learned that He is far more personal and real than I often expect Him to be (aren't you busy with all the REAL problems, God?). Whenever I'm willing to be wooed, He shows He is a Lover. And He wins me over.

If you don't believe me, allow yourself a moment of foolishness and ask Him if it's true.

"I don't want people to be afraid of Me anymore, but to see My heart full of love and to speak with Me as they would a dearly beloved brother. For some I am unknown. For others, a stranger, a severe master or an accuser. Few people come to Me as to one of a loved family. And yet My love is there, waiting for them. So tell them to come, to enter in, to give themselves up to love just as they are. Just as they are. I'll restore. I'll transform them. And they will know a joy they have never known before. I alone can give that joy. If only they would come! Tell them to come..."

He and I