The Myers-Briggs Personality Test
I first learned about the Myers-Briggs personality test in 2016, undoubtedly from a quiz result posted on Facebook. Rather than telling me which Disney princess I am (Tiana) or which of the 4 elements I embody the most (water) my friend’s result had some cryptic letters that apparently stood for something.
I’m an INFJ Type
I took the test and discovered I was an INFJ, one of the rarest Myers-Briggs personality types. Researching all I could on INFJs, I felt like I’d found my home. I already knew I was an Introvert (I feel recharged when I spend time alone), but the other facets of the description were fascinating. The iNtuition part seeks to understand and interpret life. INFJs use Feeling over Thinking which involves processing information based on past experiences and with the perceived image they have in others’ minds. The “J” is for Judging. No, this doesn’t confirm I’m a judgmental person – but it does confirm that I like to live an organized life with a clear plan, reaching closure on all I set out to accomplish and with all my relationships.
INFJs are emotionally sensitive and intellectually bright individuals. They are also easily hurt and misunderstood. INFJs are perfectionists who don’t handle personal failure very well. They can be uncomfortable with “small talk” but can spend hours talking about deep, intense stuff. I’ve often read that INFJs are very intuitive to others’ emotions which makes it hard for them to not consider how others perceive them. (I’ve heard the word “empath” to describe an INFJ for this reason.) There are a lot of pros and cons to being an INFJ, but just knowing that I am one allows me to find peace with myself.
Knowing My Type Has Helped Me Feel More Comfortable in My Skin
The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.
Before I fell down the INFJ rabbit hole I felt pretty isolated. I have always had a hard time enjoying family gatherings where a lot of the talk is superficial. I don’t do well with last-minute changes in plans or not feeling like I have a say in plans that include me. It deeply confuses me when someone acts contrary to their professed beliefs or principles. Spontaneity can throw me into anxiety. (I like to tell my husband I enjoy “controlled spontaneity.”) I also often feel I give more to relationships than I receive which can burn anyone out.
To explain these feelings and many others I’ve described myself as high-maintenance, inflexible, passionate (versus compassionate), and critical. But knowing my Myers-Briggs personality type has allowed me to have more compassion for myself.
Seeing My “Weaknesses” As Strengths
Rather than be high-maintenance, I see myself as fiercely loyal. My preference to (always) have a plan may make me inflexible, but it also makes me reliable. My passion has allowed me to help others who can’t help themselves which most often puts me in close proximity to those who exude a contagious amount of compassion. If I’m critical, I’m also well-informed. Rather than pigeon-holing me into a box, learning my type has allowed me to more accurately assess my strengths and weaknesses.
The website 16personalities.com not only gives you your Myers-Briggs type but also a cool role assignment. INFJs are “Advocates.” Strengths include being creative, insightful, decisive, altruistic, and – drum roll, please – passionate. Weaknesses include sensitivity, perfectionism, always needing a cause (or they can get restless), and low attention to self-care.
Being able to see my strengths accurately has made room to zero in on my actual weaknesses. I can be sensitive and I need to be better about taking a step back and putting the unintentional (and intentional) criticism in its proper place. I do expect a LOT of myself and need to be more patient and forgiving of myself. I definitely always need a cause: my poor husband has been calling me our family’s “continuous improvement specialist” before we knew that was a thing. Never being satisfied with the progress we’ve achieved or the status quo that’s comfortable can be draining on others and put a damper on just enjoying the journey. And my husband can also tell you that I have consistently scored quite low when it comes to self-care. Working on these things has increased my overall happiness and I’m a better wife, mother, and human being for it.
Want to Learn Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type?
If you’re feeling isolated, lost, or just curious, I’d recommend taking your own Myers-Briggs personality test. You can find the official Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® here. Or you can take the free one that I took here. I’d love to learn what your personality type is – feel free to share in the comments below.