Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Profile of Me

In an email several weeks ago, a friend of mine mentioned the Myers-Briggs Personality Tests and asked if I knew what my profile was.  I knew I hadn't taken it in quite some time, so I went and took it again so I could tell her.  She said hers was pretty accurate to who she is (and after reading the description of her profile, I wholeheartedly agreed), so I was curious to see if this test could read me correctly, as well.

I wrote her back as soon as the test was over and told her it said I am an ESFJ.  She replied with laughter, sent me a link to the description of an ESFJ, and said that absolutely sounded like me.  I clicked on the link and didn't get past the first line before I started shaking my head in disbelief at how well it had pegged me.  A few days ago, I was thinking about this, so I found the link again in my email archives, and I've spent a lot of time thinking about the characteristics of my personality it spoke of and the effect they have had on my life.  I'm not going to copy the entire profile, just some bits and pieces that have really jumped out at me.

First off, the subtitle for the ESFJ page?  The Caregiver.  I knew from right then that this page would be pretty darn good because anyone who knows me knows I love to take care of people.

Your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them.

Um yeah.  I don't even know how to elaborate on that.  It made me think of this post about Ryann, where I said she is a thinker who sees things very black and white, and I am a feeler who reacts to things based on my emotions.  I'm a feeler, plain and simple.

ESFJs are people persons - they love people.  They are warmly interested in others.  They want to like people and have a special skill at bringing out the best in others.  They are extremely good at reading people.  They have a strong desire to be liked and for everything to be pleasant which makes them highly supportive of others.  People like to be around ESFJs, because the ESFJ has a special gift of making people feel good about themselves.

I've received a lot of messages from various friends lately that have all attributed the same trait to me:  an encouragement.  And it makes me happy to know that the people I care about see this part of me because I've known and made known for a very long time that I love making other people feel good about themselves.  I LOVE sending someone a kind text out of the blue simply because I know it will put a smile on their face.  The Vespers and Caitie said that the letters I sent them held some of the nicest things they had ever been told.  I have a way with words, and I love using that to help people.

They have a strong need to be liked.  They are extremely good at reading others, and often change their own manner to be more pleasing to whoever they're with at the moment.

Yep.  Guilty as charged.

ESFJs usually have very well-formed ideas about the way things should be and are not shy about expressing these opinions.

Hahahahahahahaha.  Since when have I ever been shy about anything?  Everyone knows I'm vocal about my opinions.

All ESFJs have a natural tendency to want to control their environment.  Their dominant function demands structure and organization and seeks closure.

Um...yep.  I'm a control freak.  I hate seeing relationships end without getting closure.  I'm extremely punctual (in a family full of people who don't care if they're late).  I like to know what's going to happen and when it's going to happen.  I am rarely spontaneous.

An ESFJ who has developed in a less than ideal way may be prone to being quite insecure and focus all of their attention on pleasing others.

I have admitted many times that as a teenager, I was horribly insecure.  I like to think that that isn't as big of a problem as it once was because I've finally learned to put my self-worth in Jesus, but I know I still struggle a great deal with focusing all of my attention on pleasing others.  My closest friends have been patiently nudging me into the realization that my habit of always putting everyone else and what they want and need before my own wants and needs is often a large factor in my ending up hurt.  I don't know.  I guess it just feels easier not to think about myself.  I know that when I'm feeling down about something, I love being distracted by someone else's problem just so I can escape my own thoughts for a little while.

ESFJs need approval from others to feel good about themselves.  They are hurt by indifference and don't understand unkindness.  They are very giving people who get a lot of their personal satisfaction from the happiness of others.  They are very sensitive to others.  They are such caring individuals, that they sometimes have a hard time seeing or accepting a difficult truth about someone they care about.

This bit wasn't last on the website, but I saved it for last because it opened up a lot of old wounds that I had been pretending for a long time weren't a problem anymore.  Despite my growing faith in Jesus, I still catch myself sometimes placing my happiness on whether or not my friends are happy with me.  I worry that several consecutive days of silence means I've done something to make one of them mad at me.  I remember Michal, who is pretty much the polar opposite of me in this aspect, one day explaining to me that a certain person that I'd been having issues with probably saw things the way she did - they weren't intentionally ignoring me, and they don't understand why I get hurt when I get ignored repeatedly.  And when the people I care about are hurting, I can feel myself hurting with them.  The older I've gotten, the more this has become the case; it's no longer just my closest friends who can ignite the extremely empathetic part of me - more and more, I find my heart aching anytime anyone I care about in the least is struggling.

Honestly, it was the last sentence that hit me the hardest.  It feels like a recurring theme in my life has been that I have had an extremely difficult time believing that people, specifically people that I had trusted, weren't the good people I originally believed they were.  This is why I say that Matt was the only friend I had until I graduated high school; everyone before him, to varying degrees, lied about actually considering me a friend, and it almost always took me getting my heart stepped on in order for me to see it.  Mutual friends or acquaintances could tell me what these people were saying behind my back, and that person could give me a hug and that would be enough to convince me that everyone else was lying.  This has even happened in college; one of the biggest examples I can think of is how Louis and Chris spent months trying to convince me that the College Republicans were using me, instead of hearing them out I got mad at them, and in the end, they were right.

The first name that popped in my head when I read this, though, was Brennan.  I know, I haven't talked about him in a while.  In fact, the last this blog recorded on him was that we had spoken and things had been resolved between us.  Without getting into the details, mostly because I don't feel like rehashing every little ache of that saga, I'll just say this: that's done.  Most of me hopes it's for good, but there's still a small part of me that hopes I'm wrong.  Against my own better judgment, as well as the words of advice from several of my friends who have been privy to everything that's happened since I met him, I gave him a second chance and, for lack of a better word, I got screwed.  I held onto my determination to give him the benefit of the doubt for so long that I completely missed my wise friends standing in the background screaming for me to wake up.  I ignored every instance or piece of evidence that could have shown me the person that he really was because I wanted so badly to keep the picture of the guy who baptized me and taught me about Jesus in my head.  When I finally admitted to Ryann that she was right about him and that I wasn't sad, just angry, she immediately hit me straight in the heart with the truth: "You're not angry at him.  You're angry at yourself and embarrassed because you got played despite everyone, including yourself, telling you not to go back."  Yep.  After the fact, Matt even told me that he could tell I was hesitant about giving him a second chance.  I'm also embarrassed because I thought I was past the point in my life where I relied on some vague and broken boy's approval for my happiness, but maybe I'm not, because if I was, I don't think what he did would have hurt so badly.  I thought I was getting over it, because I really hadn't thought about him in a few weeks, but reading this piece of my profile brought back every ounce of pain and every tear I shed over what happened with him.  I don't know if it it's ironic or just pathetic that he's one of only 3 guys in my life whom I have felt close to but whose relationship has never involved romantic feelings.  All I ever wanted was to have a real friendship with him, and finally having to give up on that just sucks.  But like Maya Angelou said, "When people show you who they really are, believe them."

I don't know where all of this came from tonight, but writing has always been my release.  So there you go.

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