It has occurred to me that my recent blogging/reading malaise was actually part of a bigger problem. It slowly dawned on me that my life had got out of whack. A growing disconnect existed between what I thought, what I felt and my actions.
At the beginning of the year I took some time to reflect on my one word (thanks to Sheila @Book Journey) that would help guide me through this year.
I chose GRACE.
And I have struggled ever since.
I have been ungracious. I feel like everyone has been in my bad graces and I'm only getting by in the real world thanks to the conventional social graces. There has been nothing amazing or otherwise about my year so far.
I am aware of the religious connotations for the word grace, but I have never been tempted by any religious belief. I believe that we save ourselves, that the gift is life itself and that compassion, kindness, love, mercy and forgiveness are choices we can make for ourselves. I understand that many people need to explore these ideas within a religious framework. Whatever works for you. But it's not for me.
I have discussed this quite a bit with Mr Books of late.
I should note that he does not experience me as being ungracious, ungrateful or permanently irritable. He sees me struggling with stuff, but thankfully, I don't seem to take it out on the ones I love.
Which is when I realised that I needed to connect the dots inside of me. It's time to bring all the pieces back together, that somehow, somewhere along the way, dispersed into a million fragments.
I need to slow down - especially my mind. It goes off in hundreds of directions at once, all the time! It's exhausting.
I struggle to live in the now as I'm always forward planning and worrying about things that might happen.
I need more time in nature. The sound of wind in the trees, the feel of grass or sand under my feet and the smell of earth, beach and forest has always made me feel better.
Instead of rushing through my local parks and reserves, busy on my phone or thinking and feeling too many things at once, I could try embracing the Japanese idea of shinrin-yoku.
I stopped writing in my personal journal years ago - it might be time to start again.
And other than writing here, I don't do anything creative anymore (unless you can count Instagram as being creative).
I used to garden, cross-stitch, knit, dance and sing. I used to love cooking (until I had fussy teenagers to cater for). It's time to rediscover my creative side.
One of the blogger things that caught my eye this past week is a Myers Briggs Personality Test Book Tag! Really! It's a thing!
I've dabbled in Myers-Briggs testing ever since I first got online. I have done the test on various sites at various times in the past 18 yrs. The majority of the time I come out as an INFJ.
I'm curious enough tonight to see where this might lead.
Jillian @A Lady: A Reading Journal started me off, but you can trace the meme back to Emma @Bookish Nights and Bella and Olga and Maya and so on!
Like Maya, my personality type has changed a couple of times. One time my test result was INFP, another time it was INTJ. But most of the time it has been INFJ. Tonight, using this test, I once again came up INFJ.
Fluctuating, some might say, inconsistent, results such as these have been seen as deficiencies in the Myers-Briggs test. Many psychologists prefer The Big Five Personality Test. Having done both, there are enough similarities between my results for me to feel confident in accepting my INFJ label.
FYI - my Big Five OCEAN results show that I am 68% open, 85% conscientious, only 40% on the extroversion scale (i.e. introvert!), 78% for agreeableness and 48% neurotic.
Which brings us to the questions for this meme...
What is the Personality Type INFJ?
The INFJ (Advocate) type is apparently very rare - less than 1% of the population - which appeals to my need to be independent and might explain my lifelong belief that no-one really understands me!
Advocates share a unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – Advocates will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance. Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to Advocates, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants.
Advocates find it easy to make connections with others, and have a talent for warm, sensitive language, speaking in human terms, rather than with pure logic and fact. It makes sense that their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet Extraverted types, but they would all do well to remember that Advocates need time alone to decompress and recharge, and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw. Advocates take great care of other’s feelings, and they expect the favor to be returned. SourceAnd...
INFJ's place great importance on having things orderly and systematic in their outer world. They put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities in their lives. On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. They are usually right, and they usually know it. Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions. This is something of a conflict between their inner and outer worlds. Source
What is My Personality Like?
I've always been an introvert, but as I've got older, I have become better, stronger, braver and I can now deal confidently with many more social situations than of old. I have learnt to enjoy social events and sometimes I even get a little buzzy high when in a group of people. But it's like a sugar-high. It's built on nothing solid and collapses quickly, leaving me flat, exhausted and desperately in need of quiet, calm time to myself. And beauty.
I NEED beauty to soothe my soul and calm my jaded spirits.
When life gets too hard, I get myself to an art gallery or back to nature pronto!
***Reading back over the early part of this (very long and getting longer with ever minute) post, I see that my INFJ was leaping out screaming 'look at me, look at me!' all along.***
'They have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families, but doubts that they are living up to their full potential.' ✓
Some INFJ's can be psychic apparently, but I have never experienced anything that couldn't be explained by scientific logic and rational thought.
'As genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJs are concerned for people's feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict.' ✓
'INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them.' ✓
'An INFJ who has gone the route of becoming meticulous about details may be highly critical of other individuals who are not.' ✓
If I were a character in a book what would my strengths and weaknesses be?
Like Galadriel in Lord of the Rings and Toto, I can see through dishonesty and deception. I think that's a good thing! We're also very calm and composed...on the outside.
I share Atticus Finch's altruism and passion for justice.
Hercule Poirot's painstaking attention to detail can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on which side you're on! My colleagues would probably say the same thing.
Clark Kent and I are both unassuming and just get on with the job. We don't need lots of accolades or attention as long as the one we love sees us for who we really are.
Remus Lupin, Jon Snow and I are very loyal and protective towards our family & friends, although trust can sometimes be an issue. Once lost, it's hard to regain. Our reserve and sense of privacy can put some people off, but we're only protecting ourselves.
Like the Tinman, I often wander around believing that I have no heart, which surprises all who love us as they only see our tenderness and sensitivity.
My weaknesses are shared with the likes of Kermit the Frog, who always got stressed out by the incompetence and folly of the other Muppets!
Our desire to be self-reliant and true to ourselves can sometimes see us push away those we love best when we need them (or they need us) the most - yes, you, Jane Eyre!
I experience Theodore Lawrence's moodiness when I'm thwarted or feeling unloved and like Lisa Simpson, I can be a tad critical of those not living up to my high standards (which I also apply to myself).
Which authors share my MBTI?
Quite a few apparently, including J.K. Rowling (although INFP's claim her too), Plato, Mary Wollstonecraft, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dante Alighieri, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Agatha Christie, Charlotte Brontë, Carl Jung, and Leo Tolstoy.
|I searched high & low for a source for this. Let me know if you know.|
If I were a character in a novel what job would I have?
I'd have to be in a rather splendid, epic novel that had designs on changing the world. So my character would have to be the do-gooder (Mahatma Ghandi or Mother Theresa style) working for the betterment of humankind. Or I could take to the dark side to bring the whole thing tumbling down like Darth Vader or Adolf Hitler.
Really? Adolf Hitler & Mother Theresa are the same personality type? The internet wouldn't lie to me now would it?
What personality type would complete my OTP?
First up, I had to look up OTP.
One True Pairing.
When it comes to romantic relationships, Advocates take the process of finding a partner seriously. Not ones for casual encounters, people with the Advocate personality type instead look for depth and meaning in their relationships. Advocates will take the time necessary to find someone they truly connect with – once they’ve found that someone, their relationships will reach a level of depth and sincerity that most people can only dream of.
Secondly, I'm surprised that everyone doesn't approach romance this way. If you're going to do a job, like the huge, amazing job of falling in love with someone for the rest of your life, you might as well do it properly - INFJ wisdom right there!
It would also seem that like attracts like in this case.
INFJ's often seek out other INFJ's for a lifetime of authentic love and togetherness.
ENFP's are the other possibility.
|INFJ is the cat - just in case you were wondering!|
Who are some fictional characters that would complete my OTP?
Fictional ENFP's include Willy Wonka, Faramir (from LOTR - one of my favourite non-Hobbit's), Mr Keating (Dead Poet's Society), Hawkeye Pearce (MASH) and George Bailey (It's a Wonderful Life).
And now that I've read more about ENFP's, I suspect that Mr Books may be one too.
Are you still with me?
Bravo to you!
If you feel inclined to explore your own Myers-Briggs Personality type consider yourself tagged.
I'm not sure if I feel more connected, centred or balanced after all that. But I've had some much needed time alone and my brain has had some fun, and as you now know, they're pretty important things in the world of an INFJ.