Personality Types

The very first book I read about personality types was Spirit-Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye. It was required reading in high school (ACE, anyone?) I. ate. it. up. I found it so interesting! I remember not only having fun figuring out my type but also everyone else that I knew. I was probably kind of annoying, now that I think about it.

Since then I've read a lot more about personality types and really enjoy learning all I can about the subject. It's so helpful to learn why we do the things we do. I got my husband hooked on it, too.

In case you're wondering, I'm an ENFP or Sanguine (or Otter) and am not sure about my Enneagram (pronounced ANY-uh-gram) number yet--if I had to guess, a two or seven? I'm still waiting for the book. ;)

So why should you care what personality type you are? Several reasons, but mostly because knowing more about yourself and others helps so much in relationships.

For instance, I know that one of my weaknesses is people-pleasing, so I have to be careful that I don't say "yes" to things just to make someone else happy. I need to examine my motives (and my schedule!). Am I doing something because it makes me look good or because I actually care?

The Enneagram - looks confusing, but it's not once you know what you're looking at!

Probably the biggest help when it comes to understanding different personalities is I've learned not to take things personally. It took me a long time to understand that just because {introverted} people don't respond to me the way I do to them (lots of words and smiles and bouncing around all over the place), it doesn't mean they don't like me. Yes, I actually used to think that. You other extroverts know what I'm talking about. I've learned not to take people's non-reactions personally. In fact, 99.9% of the time, it's not about me. GASP.

I can't tell you how many times this fact has saved me from myself. Saved me from worrying and making a fool of myself by trying to figure out "what's wrong." That said, I have made a fool of myself plenty of times. Ahem.

Moving on.

Obviously, knowing more about my husband and children's personalities has been indispensable (it was also helpful in the workplace when I worked outside the home). Mr. N and I are so totally opposite in terms of personality. On paper, we do not make a good couple. Of course, in real life, we're awesome together. (It's totally the Lord!) Because we're so different, I feel it's essential to know all I can about his personality. Because, let's face it, even without such different personalities, just the fact that he's a MAN and I'm a WOMAN is reason enough to learn all I can, amIright!?

For example, I know that he needs time alone to recharge (introvert). Just like I need to socialize to recharge (extrovert) or I go ca-razy.  I also know that it stresses him out if too many things are planned too far in advance, so I only tell him what he needs to know. :) Knowing these things, we can help meet each others needs and also be a little more sympathetic towards one another.

I'm still trying to learn more about my children's personalities--it's difficult when they're so young. One thing I've noticed is that they're different out in public vs. at home. Middlest is wild, crazy, rambunctious and talkative at home but quiet, shy and reserved in public. Oldest is mild-mannered and a little reserved at home but loves the spotlight around other people. Remind you of anyone?

I only read about half-way through Nurture by Nature (understanding your children's personality) but I loved it. My time ran out at the library and it's on my hold list once again. 

There are a few things you need to be careful of, when learning about personalities. One is pigeon-holing people. There are always exceptions to the rules and generalizations are just that--general. 

It could also be tempting to use your type's negative attributes as an excuse; "I can't help being pessimistic all the time--it's just the way I was made." If you know your downfalls, you should try to grow and overcome them.

The most obvious (and dangerous?) downside to studying your type is becoming too introspective and self-absorbed. Remember the freedom of forgetting oneself?

In case you want to know more, here are a few links to get you started:
And if you have the time, here's a great podcast from Tsh Oxenreider talking to Leigh Kramer about the Enneagram. Interesting stuff! 
Do you know what type you are? Do you have any favorite resources?

1 comment:

  1. thank you for the cinnamon suggestion, to rid my kitchen counters, of those pesky little ants!!!!

    thank you for this post! i must come back and read it thoroughly, later. (no time now, as we all know so well!!! -smile-) since i love this sort of topic.

    and i love a blog, which posts interesting things, like this. all the usual things, in 'pretty blog land', are marvelous too. but i do love some posts, to stimulate thinking. :-)

    gentle hugs,


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