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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Getting a Tour of Yourself

Over the years, I've gotten a lot of help from personality tests.  They have often helped me put into clear words what is otherwise a jumbled mess of random thoughts and feelings about who I am.

Some people like the jumbled mess.  I don't.  Understanding that is helpful.

Here is an example of an online test.

Until you have completed several different tests, I would not hang much value on any single one.  And, obviously, these kinds of tests are less accurate than the longer ones given by professionals, such as the MMPI.  That one was a lot of work, but it the insights I got from it were invaluable.

These kinds of tests are also really helpful for understanding the kinds of relationships we have.  They clarify not only how we look at ourselves, but also how we look at others and what we expect from them.

This is very important, because too often we can be annoyed with people for no good reason.  Some people just rub us the wrong way.  It is not just about them, it is about us.  Seeing that makes the world a whole lot more tolerable.

I deal with the emotionally fragile and the wounded.  All have been victimized, but more often than not they are self-victimizers.  Genuine victims are out there, as are those that started off as real victims, but then went ahead and held themselves hostage after the original hostage takers left.  These are the people I have to enter into hostage negotiations with in the hope that I can get them to set themselves free.

So, I have to be careful.  Plenty of people will pull the trigger on themselves.  If I want to help, the first thing I need to know is how much of what I am sensing is them in reality, and how much is me reacting to them and having a strictly internal experience that isn't really getting to the core of the problem at hand.  Sometimes it is a messy combination of both.

This is really hard when you have someone who is waaaay into their own feelings, and wants you to participate in how they feel.  The lines can get blurry if you are not careful, mostly because their feels are their own and no one else's, but they don't see the line as clearly because of their personality types.  They get really, really upset when you can't sympathize, let alone empathize.

Someone like me, who is not all that into indulging emotions, can get into a lot of trouble if I don't check myself on this and realize that the difference does not necessarily make them weaklings and sissies the way my inner 'me' processes their emotionalism.  It just makes them different.  There are plenty of people who are into their emotions and are not only functional but successful in the spiritual life.  The guiding principle is whether we are functional or not.

As they say, if it runs, don't break it by fixing it.

I have to know myself before I can know others, and I have to accept the differences of others not only to help them but to be happy in general.

Reading through things like the results of personality tests or personality theories can help us not only get more of a grip on our own world, but more appreciation for others and how they perceive the world.  Appreciating others can liberate us from selfishness and the 'what-is-wrong-with-everybody-else syndrome' that can rob us of our happiness.

Sometimes getting into yourself can help you get out of yourself.

1 comment:

  1. "Isn't anybody going to help that poor man?"

    "Hush, Harriet! That's a sure way to get him killed!"

    The mystical Orthodox wisdom of Blazing Saddles. ;-)