I am a total personality profile nerd! I am so excited about Anne Bogel’s book Reading People and feel slightly shameful that I haven’t put it at the top of my to read list!
I love exploring personalities for so many reasons. First, it’s just fun to figure out all the things that make each of us unique, the ways we are similar, and all the things that motivate us in life. Second, and the reason I strongly encourage everyone to learn about themselves, is because knowing who I am has transformed the way I handle the most difficult moments in life. I wouldn’t know where to begin single parenting if I didn’t know what gives me energy and what drains it. I would not survive if I didn’t know what my strengths are so I can delegate to compensate for my weaknesses. Knowing what motivates me has allowed me the freedom to design a work and home life that works for me because it is custom to who I am, not what has worked for someone else.
The following are the personality profiles and resources I most often recommend and why they are so helpful:
Myers Briggs (MBTI) is probably the most well-known personality analysis tool. I like the one from 16Personalities because it gives a detailed (and helpful!) report at the end. Each of the four categories describes an aspect of your personality, you are one of two “types” for each category (making for 16 total combinations of the types). The categories are Introversion/Extroversion, iNtuitive/Sensing, Feeling/Thinking, and Judging/Perceiving. One of the downsides of the MBTI is that we all fall on a spectrum between each of the types, so it is not a black and white indicator or who you are and does not indicate what motivates you. The greatest strength of the MBTI is that it begins to describe how you perceive the world around you.
SUMMARY OF THE CATEGORIES/TYPES:
- Introverts need time alone to recharge, whereas Extroverts get energy from interactions with other.
- INtuitives focus on the future and possibilities based on a an instinctual process while Sensors are very aware of the present facts and data based on their senses.
- Feelers give a lot of weight to gut feelings in decision making (even if they use data and pros/cons to consider the choices), but Thinkers will always make a decision based solely on the data and pros/cons regardless about how they feel about the decision.
- Judgers have a strong need to make decisions and Perceivers want to keep all their options open.
For example, I’m an INFJ. It’s a rare type, so I’m prone to feeling alone and misunderstood. I’m an introvert, so I’ve stopped trying to make myself have a busy social life. I’m intuitive, so I’m very aware of what my life could looks like or how others might be feeling. I’m a feeler, much to the chagrin of my love for list making, so I’ll always make a final decision based on my gut. I’m a judger. I’m not judging you, but I do feel a strong need to evaluate a situation and make a decision on how to proceed.
- Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type by Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter B. Myers
- How You’ll Do Everything Based on Your Personality Type by Heidi Priebe
- Type Talk: The 16 Personalities That Determine How We Live, Love, & Work by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen
Strengths Finder 2.0 is one of my favorites. You take a test and it reveals your top five strengths. It focuses on improving and maximizing your strengths, because we’ll never be awesome at everything (no matter how hard we try). Learning my strengths has helped me to find people with strengths that complement my weaknesses and the ways my own strengths can enrich the lives of people around me.
MY STRENGTHS: (descriptions from the Strengths Finder 2.0 website)
- Intellection: People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.
- Input: People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
- Connectedness: People who are especially talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.
- Relator: People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.
- Learner: People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
Honestly, it hadn’t occurred to me before learning my strengths that not everyone spent 90% of their time thinking and then sharing with others. Strengths Finder has really changed my perspective on how everyone experiences life differently and how many things I might be natural good at, but aren’t my natural strengths. For example, I am good at organizing and administrating things, but since it’s not one of my tops strengths, I’ve realized that other people find joy in doing things I might be good at but don’t love doing.
One thing I really appreciate about Strengths Finder is the application. It’s a great program to do with a team of people or in your family because it becomes very clear how to help individuals be successful; by assigning projects and expectations that align with their strengths, you can maximize everyone’s potential.
STRENGTHS FINDER RESOURCES:
Gary Chapman’s book ‘The 5 Love Languages‘ has been popular since it came out and now has editions for children and teens as well. The idea is that there are five primary ways that we express and feel love. Conflict arises when we only express love the way we want to experience it because, chances are, the people around us don’t share a primary love language.
THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES:
- Physical Touch: Feel and express love most naturally through touch and physical proximity.
- Quality Time: Feel and express love most naturally through time spent doing things or being with others.
- Acts of Service: Feel and express love most naturally by doing things for others.
- Words of Affirmation: Feel and express love most naturally through compliments and encouragement.
- Gifts: Feel and express love most naturally by giving and receiving; gifts don’t have to have any monetary value, it’s truly the thought that counts.
In our family, my son and I are both Physical Touch people. When we are sad or want to express love, there is a lot of hugging and snuggling. My daughter wants nothing to do with it. She’ll snuggle at bedtime, but otherwise, you need express permission to touch her. She’s just not into it.
I’ve found that my secondary love language is Words of Affirmation. If I’m feeling low or discouraged, even a small compliment will give me the energy and confidence to keep going!
NOTE: This book was originally written within the context of marriage, but any relationship can be transformed when you start loving people the way they feel most loved!
LOVE LANGUAGES RESOURCES:
GRETCHEN RUBIN’S FOUR TENDENCIES
When I wrote about my favorite podcasts and how they’re helping me take care of myself, I mentioned Happier with Gretchen Rubin. I love how passionate she is about helping people reach their potential by knowing more about themselves. She describes people as one of four tendencies and talks about how each tendency is motivated by different things.
I’m a Questioner: I will only do things if I’m motivated to and outside pressure will not help me accomplish my goals. It’s very difficult to me to complete a task if someone tells me to do it; if I’m given a mandate or a specific set of instructions on how to complete the task, I immediately want to run away.
You can take the quiz on Gretchen’s site to see if you’re a Questioner, Upholder, Obliger, or Rebel and learn more about her four tendencies.
FOUR TENDENCIES RESOURCES:
- The Four Tendencies Quiz
- The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How To Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin
The Enneagram is super confusing at first, but it’s the most in depth and so many nuanced layers.
There are nine types in the enneagram, but they are connected in unique ways. At your most basic state, you are your main type, you show the traits of a different type during stress, and another during times of health. Most people also have a “wing”, one of the types on either side of the main type they exhibit several qualities of. There are subtypes and additional layers (hence, the initial confusion), but once you start to understand the enneagram, it can be a powerful tool to understanding who you are and why you respond to life and conflict in certain ways.
THE NINE TYPES: (from The Enneagram Institute – the names of each type can vary by resource)
- THE REFORMER – The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
- THE HELPER – The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
- THE ACHIEVER – The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
- THE INDIVIDUALIST – The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
- THE INVESTIGATOR – The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
- THE LOYALIST – The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
- THE ENTHUSIAST – The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
- THE CHALLENGER – The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
- THE PEACEMAKER – The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent
My type: 1 – The Reformer
My wing: 9 – The Peacemaker
In stress: 4 – The Individualist
In health: 7 – The Enthusiast
I get it. THIS IS SUPER OVERWHELMING. Just start by finding out what your main type is. I strongly recommend using a RHETI enneagram test because it’s very easy to get a false positive with a free test. If you do take a free test, take it several times in a row and read the descriptions for each result you get to determine which type most accurately describes you.
- RHETI Enneagram Test
- Free Enneagram Test
- The Enneagram Institute
- The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert
- The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Chron
- The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher L. Heuertz and Richard Rohr
- The Essential Enneagram: The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide by David Daniels and Virginia Price
In the Bible there’s this idea that we’re all innately gifted in different ways. If we know our gifting, we can help, serve, and love others better. There are many different spiritual gifts tests (and some controversy over which gifts are actually gifts, but this isn’t the place for that argument). I like to think of spiritual gifts as the things that make you feel really alive; when you’re doing work in the ways you’re gifted, it’s much more fulfilling. An example: my top spiritual gift is Hospitality. I love having people over for dinner or parties. I also love making my home a safe and comfortable people to feel like they can relax. Learn more about spiritual gifts and take a survey to find yours.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Since I’ve been getting to know myself again these last few months, I’ve learned one important thing: if I’m not doing what I love, I’m going to find it hard to feel rested and grounded. Don’t join a book club because you “should” join a book club. Do it because you love reading books and discussing it with other avid readers. Don’t run because it’s the way you “should” exercise. Figure out what you love and do that thing.
How does getting to know yourself help you? What has made the biggest impact on caring for yourself?
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