Posts tagged psychology

10 Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned in the Last 5 Months

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Just two weeks after my “wake-up call” I took the above photo,
showcasing the highest score I ever got bowling, beating my husband for the first time!

I recently received an email from an UpGusto subscriber who lost his girlfriend who he intended to marry, and his job, all in one fell swoop. He was in despair about his life and in deep depression. I emailed him back, and I decided to share with you all what I wrote to him (plus a couple extra points) because my response is applicable to everyone’s life at one point or another, maybe even right this moment for some of you. I hope you can gain some insight to apply to your life today and on an ongoing basis to improve your own well being for the long term.

I’m sorry you have been going through such a difficult time. It is hard to understand why things may be happening as they are, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason. You never know what God has planned for you. It is always better than what we imagine for ourselves, and we tend to try to thwart God’s plans with our plans. That is what happened to me back in late June. I was living my life my way, and everything seemed to be going along just fine, when WHAM! Wake-up call. An extremely unfortunate event had taken place and when I came to realize what was going on it was like a huge slap in the face. A huge slap in my life! But 5 months later and I am actually already grateful for what has happened because I think it actually saved my life.

I was going down the wrong path. I kept doing the same things expecting different results, which is basically insanity. My life seemed fine, but since my wake-up call, I have realized so much of what I was doing was for the wrong reasons and a lot of what I was doing was completely unnecessary and it wasn’t resulting in a better life as I had been hoping for all along. I was stressing myself out to the max. I immediately simplified my life so I could survive the turmoil I was going through at the moment. And as soon as I did that, my life immediately became that much more manageable… basically easier to deal with on a daily basis. It’s funny how when you’re overly responsible, you tend to take on more responsibility than is actually necessary.

I tend to take care of others instead of myself, but since my wake-up call, I have been learning to take care of myself, and that has been an amazing thing. I am learning who I am and what I really want out of life, and I’m not displeasing God in the process like I thought I would be if I lived life this way. I thought taking care of myself was selfish, but really it’s self-care. There is a difference between selfishness, selflessness, and self-care, and I have realized that now. At the moment, my goal is self-care, and once I feel like my life is finally on track, I can work on being more selfless, but self-care is never selfish. When you take care of yourself, you are taking the burden off someone else to care for you. When you take care of your self, you are taking responsibility for your life, and you can learn to allow others to take responsibility for themselves too, and that is very freeing.

I don’t know why your relationship ended, what caused it, or what the current end of that relationship will bring you in the future (or in your present). I don’t know why you lost your job, or what God has in store for you instead. I do know that when these sorts of things happen to us that we need to wake up and take a look at ourselves and how we are living our lives. Take a look at our priorities, our actions, and what our past actions and behaviors have gotten us thus far, and what changes we can make in ourselves to get us to where we actually want to go, rather than doing the same things forever, expecting that one day things will finally get better (it won’t if we keep doing the same things).

I realized many things in these last 5 months:

  1. I am responsible for myself and only myself (and if you have children then you are also responsible for taking care of them to the best of your ability).
  2. Others are responsible for themselves, I am not responsible for them. I can’t control others or improve other people’s lives. They have to do that themselves. If I have insight, I can give them insight, but it is up to them to take the appropriate actions to take care of themselves.
  3. I can be myself and I can allow others to be themselves. We are all humans, with flaws and talents, both good and bad qualities. We are all equal, and we are all equally and fully loved by God. All people are capable of doing bad things, and all people can be blessings to others as well.
  4. I don’t have to do everything. I don’t have to do anything extra or unnecessary, and I need to have my priorities straight. I don’t have to live up to other people’s expectations, or even my own expectations I have placed on myself, and the imaginary expectations I think God has of me. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do because doing things I don’t want to do would be doing things with the wrong heart and motives. That is not to say that I shouldn’t do what I am responsible for, but if it involves something I am not responsible for, then I should not do it unless my heart is in the right place.
  5. Money is not the most important thing in life. God will take care of our needs. God does want to bless us and He wants us to be happy. But money does not make us happy, and working our lives away just to have more material objects, or to look cool or have a higher social standing is not going to make us happy.
  6. When others are disappointed with me, it is not necessarily my fault. We all grow up gaining different world-views and defenses. We don’t need to take everything personally. Everyone has issues. We ourselves have issues, and it is our responsibility to work on our own personal issues to try to resolve our flawed world-views and useless defenses that we’ve put up to protect ourselves as children, but are actually harmful to us now as adults.
  7. I have learned that my relationship with God is the most important thing, and if I am in close connection to God, everything else actually falls right into place.
  8. Whether or not you believe in God, you can’t go through life alone and you can’t do what you need to do solely through your own power and might. Gaining some form of higher power (HP) who is more powerful than you and can help you do what you cannot do for yourself, is what makes your life manageable and what will eventually bring you serenity.
  9. You don’t have to be a religious person to have or find a higher power. Most of life’s problems are actually spiritual at the root. Spirituality and a connection with God (or higher power) does not necessarily have to be religious. In fact, it’s better if it’s not.
  10. Only a higher power has the power to restore you to sanity. What you give to your higher power (or God) is what your HP will take and deal with for you. But your HP will only take what you surrender, so the key to serenity and sanity is to fully surrender your will and your problems to the God of your understanding.

 
There is hope. In this world, there will be suffering, but that does not mean that all is lost, even if it seems like it now. Try your best at this time to see a broader perspective, that something is happening in your life that needs to happen right now, and it is bigger than you or I. And it can be a huge blessing if you take it by the horns and make the changes in yourself for the better, to bring you a better future. Slowly but surely, we can make the improvements in ourselves, internally, to give us the peace and serenity that we really long for.

What are you struggling with right now that makes you see no hope? Has this message helped give you the perspective you need to move on and make the necessary changes in your life to turn things around for the better? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Also, let me know if you have any questions or would like any feedback.

What’s Really Important to You?

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I ended up taking this Values Test the other day, and it took me about 4 hours to do, which was a little too much time to spend on it, but I just couldn’t narrow down what was most important to me. I always feel that most things are important to me, which can actually be a problem. This is probably why I always feel like I have too many interests, too many things on my to-do list. Things I want to do, and so much I feel I need to do.

By taking this values test, however, I did realize what I really feel is important in life, and I realized that some of the things I thought were important, weren’t really that important to me after all.

There is a list of about 400-500 words (some are very similar) and you’re supposed to select the words (the meaning of the words) that you feel are most important to you. Then you’re supposed to narrow down the ones you originally picked to about 20 max. Well, that is the preferred amount, but I couldn’t narrow it down to less than 38.

The third step is to compare two of your chosen values at a time, and there were about 630 “votes” I had to make, comparing every single word to every single other word, choosing which word of every pair that popped up that was the most important to me compared to the other word. So that was very time consuming. I should have narrowed it down more on the second step!

Realizing that a lot of things aren’t actually that important was one of the main lessons I learned from this. Learning to prioritize appropriately. The other thing I realized is that I don’t have to take everything so seriously. Not everything is life or death. I need to learn to let go in order to live a peaceful life.

I used to think that trying to be perfect, making things perfect, or living a perfect life was very important. But after comparing that to all my other values, that ended up being something that wasn’t that important to me deep down.

I seek balance in life, and one of the ways I can gain balance is to let go of these things I hold so dear. Trying to be perfect, trying to make everything around me perfect. It doesn’t have to be. And that is very freeing.

So here are my 38 things that I thought were important to me, with the number of votes each value received from me. After doing all the voting, it ended up being that only the top half of my list is relatively important to me and the bottom half of my list is not as important to me as I thought.

The main thing I realized was that, for me, if I am content and grateful, I don’t really need anything else in life at all! I should probably say here that contentment may be the most important thing to me, but it doesn’t mean I have mastered it quite yet.

1. Contentment (35 votes)
2. Gratitude (33 votes)
3. Wisdom (32 votes)
4. Trustworthiness (31 votes)
5. Faith (30 votes)
6. Loyalty (29 votes)
7. Peace (29 votes)
8. Comfort (27 votes)
9. Reliability (27 votes)
10. Relaxation (27 votes)
11. Affection (25 votes)
12. Resourcefulness (24 votes)
13. Freedom (22 votes)
14. Independence (22 votes)
15. Stability (20 votes)
16. Practicality (19 votes)
17. Logic (19 votes)
18. Balance (18 votes)
19. Efficiency (17 votes)
20. Simplicity (16 votes)
21. Exploration (15 votes)
22. Variety (14 votes)
23. Wealth (14 votes)
24. Motivation (13 votes)
25. Reasonableness (12 votes)
26. Order (10 votes)
27. Resolve (9 votes)
28. Energy (8 votes)
29. Proactivity (8 votes)
30. Satisfaction (8 votes)
31. Harmony (6 votes)
32. Passion (5 votes)
33. Respect (3 votes)
34. Prudence (1 votes)
35. Speed (1 votes)
36. Perfection (1 votes)

Steve Pavlina outlines how to live out your values Here and Here.

Click here if you want to take the Values Test. It can be very eye-opening. But don’t spend 4 hours on it like I did, lol!

Once you take the test, let me know how you did, what your results were, and what you learned from it. Leave a comment!

Also, stop by my friend Brendan Baker’s blog to see his most recent post on how you can actually easily become a millionaire in your lifetime by making tiny little sacrifices, or tiny quick smart decisions all along the way. It’s really brilliant, so I wanted to share it with you.

What’s Your Myers-Briggs Jung-Type Personality? Here’s Mine!

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I took the Jung-Type Personality Test which is based on the Myers-Briggs Personality test. I decided to create this post for my family to learn from to understand me better, and for people to read as a personal case study.

I scored as an INTJ. That means I am an introvert, intuitive, thinking, and judging.

My scores break down as follows:

89% more toward Introvert (I) on the Introvert-Extrovert scale:

introvert_extrovert

38% more toward Intuitive (N) on the Intuitive-Sensing scale:

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1% more toward Thinking (T) on the Thinking-Feeling scale:

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67% more toward Judging (J) on the Judging-Perceiving scale:

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Based on these numbers, I am mostly introvert and I am mostly judging, but I am almost equally thinking as feeling and also just a bit more intuitive than sensing.

Based on that, I am first an INTJ, the next closest personality is INFJ, then ISTJ, then ISFJ.

After reading the descriptions of each one, I compiled the parts of each description that actually matched my personality, way of thinking, reacting, and reasoning. Because I am so close to the middle between Thinking and Feeling, I am extremely like both INTJ and INFJ, like I am a coin and INTJ is one side of me and INFJ is the other side of me. But the Sensing in me shines through a bit as well, so I have included some of that in my full report.

My compilation of my personality from all 4 descriptions is below. I have taken out the parts of each description that don’t relate to me at all, and I have bolded the parts that resonate with me the most, and might answer any questions about me you may have about why I am the way I am, and why you might think I am a certain way when maybe something else is really going on. Further down, I also explain more about my Thinking-Feeling inner-conflicts, and my thoughts on introversion vs. extroversion.

My INTJ Personality Traits:

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of “definiteness”, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

INTJs are known as the “Systems Builders” of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play, as INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project. Anyone considered to be “slacking,” including superiors, will lose their respect — and will generally be made aware of this; INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers. On the other hand, they do tend to be scrupulous and even-handed about recognizing the individual contributions that have gone into a project, and have a gift for seizing opportunities which others might not even notice.

In the broadest terms, what INTJs “do” tends to be what they “know”. Typical INTJ career choices are in the sciences and engineering, but they can be found wherever a combination of intellect and incisiveness are required (e.g., law, some areas of academia). INTJs can rise to management positions when they are willing to invest time in marketing their abilities as well as enhancing them, and (whether for the sake of ambition or the desire for privacy) many also find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality.

INTJs are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship.

However, many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. This sometimes results in a peculiar naivete’, paralleling that of many Fs — only instead of expecting inexhaustible affection and empathy from a romantic relationship, the INTJ will expect inexhaustible reasonability and directness.

Probably the strongest INTJ assets in the interpersonal area are their intuitive abilities and their willingness to “work at” a relationship. Although as Ts they do not always have the kind of natural empathy that many Fs do, the Intuitive function can often act as a good substitute by synthesizing the probable meanings behind such things as tone of voice, turn of phrase, and facial expression. This ability can then be honed and directed by consistent, repeated efforts to understand and support those they care about, and those relationships which ultimately do become established with an INTJ tend to be characterized by their robustness, stability, and good communications.

My INFJ Personality Traits:

INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally “doers” as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.

INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people — a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious “soul mates.” While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates.

This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent “givers.” As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood — particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type.

Due in part to the unique perspective produced by this alternation between detachment and involvement in the lives of the people around them, INFJs may well have the clearest insights of all the types into the motivations of others, for good and for evil. The most important contributing factor to this uncanny gift, however, are the empathic abilities often found in Fs, which seem to be especially heightened in the INFJ type (possibly by the dominance of the introverted N function).

This empathy can serve as a classic example of the two-edged nature of certain INFJ talents, as it can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations. More explicit inner conflicts are also not uncommon in INFJs; it is possible to speculate that the causes for some of these may lie in the specific combinations of preferences which define this complex type. For instance, there can sometimes be a “tug-of-war” between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings.

Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the “inspirational” professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. Psychology and counseling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths. Perhaps the best example of this occurs in the technical fields. The significant minority of INFJs who do pursue studies and careers in sciences and logical fields tend to be as successful as their T counterparts, as it is *iNtuition* — the dominant function for the INFJ type — which governs the ability to understand abstract theory and implement it creatively.

In their own way, INFJs are just as much “systems builders” as are INTJs; the difference lies in that most INFJ “systems” are founded on human beings and human values, rather than information and technology. Their systems may for these reasons be conceptually “blurrier” than analogous NT ones, harder to measure in strict numerical terms, and easier to take for granted — yet it is these same underlying reasons which make the resulting contributions to society so vital and profound.

Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists – INFJs gravitate toward such a role – are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.

INFJs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. They often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress.

Accurately suspicious about others’ motives, INFJs are not easily led. These are the people that you can rarely fool any of the time. Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words.

INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately.

My ISTJ Personality Traits:

ISTJs are often called inspectors. They have a keen sense of right and wrong, especially in their area of interest and/or responsibility. They are noted for devotion to duty. Punctuality is a watchword of the ISTJ. The secretary, clerk, or business(wo)man by whom others set their clocks is likely to be an ISTJ.

As do other Introverted Thinkers, ISTJs often give the initial impression of being aloof and perhaps somewhat cold. Effusive expression of emotional warmth is not something that ISTJs do without considerable energy loss.

ISTJs are most at home with “just the facts, Ma’am.” They seem to perform at highest efficiency when employing a step-by-step approach. Once a new procedure has proven itself (i.e., has been shown “to work,”) the ISTJ can be depended upon to carry it through, even at the expense of their own health.

ISTJs are easily frustrated by the inconsistencies of others, especially when the second parties don’t keep their commitments. But they usually keep their feelings to themselves unless they are asked. And when asked, they don’t mince words. Truth wins out over tact.

My ISFJ Personality Traits:

ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their “need to be needed.” In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life.

ISFJs are often unappreciated, at work, home, and play. Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty and unstinting, high-quality work, those around them often take them for granted–even take advantage of them. Admittedly, the problem is sometimes aggravated by the ISFJs themselves; for instance, they are notoriously bad at delegating (“If you want it done right, do it yourself”). And although they’re hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they’re getting, it’s somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself). (And as low-profile Is, their actions don’t call attention to themselves as with charismatic Es.) Because of all of this, ISFJs are often overworked, and as a result may suffer from psychosomatic illnesses.

In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others. ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties; if someone they’ve bonded with in this way leaves the company, the ISFJ will leave with them, if given the option. Traditional careers for an ISFJ include: teaching, social work, most religious work, nursing, medicine (general practice only), clerical and and secretarial work of any kind, and some kinds of administrative careers.

While their work ethic is high on the ISFJ priority list, their families are the centers of their lives. If any of their nearest and dearest depart from the straight-and-narrow, it causes the ISFJ major embarrassment: the closer the relationship and the more public the act, the more intense the embarrassment. Over time, however, ISFJs usually mellow, and learn to regard the culprits as harmless eccentrics. ISFJs take infinite trouble over meals, gifts, celebrations, etc., for their loved ones–although strong Js may tend to focus more on what the recipient should want rather than what they do want.

Like most Is, ISFJs have a few, close friends. They are extremely loyal to these, and are ready to provide emotional and practical support at a moment’s notice. Unlike with EPs, the older the friendship is, the more an ISFJ will value it. One ISFJ trait that is easily misunderstood by those who haven’t known them long is that they are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling. For instance, an ISFJ child may be reproved for “sulking,” the actual cause of which is a combination of physical illness plus misguided “good manners.” An adult ISFJ may drive a (later ashamed) friend or SO into a fit of temper over the ISFJ’s unexplained moodiness, only afterwards to explain about a death in the family they “didn’t want to burden anyone with.” Those close to ISFJs should learn to watch for the warning signs in these situations and take the initiative themselves to uncover the problem.

My own personal explanation about the inner conflict of being both Thinking and Feeling

I have always felt like I had two brains inside one skull. It’s not Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder), however it feels extremely similar to what that might be like. The only difference is probably the fact that I know it’s going on. It is like I have two people fighting two sides constantly in every decision, on an almost daily basis. My best days are when one side seems to just automatically give in to the other side’s demands, or when the two sides just happen to agree on something, because most of the time they don’t agree.

The reason for this is because when you are both Thinking and Feeling, you have a logical side that uses reason to make decisions, and you also have an emotional empathic side that uses morals (or what you think is moral) to make decisions. However, when it comes to gray areas, that is when the two sides conflict the most. Not everything is absolute when it comes to morality. For instance, when someone in need asks for money, the automatic moral response would be to help out. However, when that person is a man who you know sits on the corner drinking all day and night, it’s actually immoral to give that person money. This is an extreme version of the inner conflicts I go through. It’s pretty obvious that a man who drinks all day should not be given money. Many times the situation is even more gray than this.

Sometimes my inner conflicts have to do with what I do on a daily basis, or on an hourly basis. I am constantly trying to figure out what is the very best way to spend my time so that I am as valuable as possible in this world and to God while still keeping myself sane by taking care of myself too. Taking care of myself and taking care of the world around me seem like two different things and I care about both equally. My thinking side of me knows that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of others, but my feeling side says it’s selfish to ever consider myself.

I’m well aware that my thinking side is right 99% of the time (my thinking side has figured that out, lol). But my feeling side is almost 50% of who I am so it is extremely hard to go against it. So I struggle daily on what I should do each day.

My own personal explanation about my introversion vs. extroversion:

Also, by my own explanation of myself I typically don’t view myself as that much of an introvert, but I do know that I prefer introversion, working along, etc. over being with groups of people, and I do know that I gain energy by being alone, and my energy is sucked dry when I am around people, which is also a clue that I am definitely more of an introvert.

The preference I thought I had is to spend about half of my waking hours alone and half of my waking hours interacting with people. However, now that I am thinking about it, it might actually be that I prefer to spend half of my free-time alone and half of my free-time interacting with people. And I prefer to spend practically all of my working/project time completely alone. Which means that I probably only prefer to spend about 5% of my waking hours interacting with people.

However, I do like to spend time with people doing activities side by side without interacting. I know that when I spend too much time alone I start to feel lonely, and when I spend too much time interacting with people I get very tired. So my introversion more has to do with the amount of interaction with people, not so much simply being around someone.

I also prefer to spend time with people one-on-one because relationships can grow much deeper that way. It might be fun to hang out and do fun things with groups of people, but it’s much harder to get to know someone deeply as an individual when only hanging out in groups.

However, even though I prefer hanging out one-on-one, spending time with one person can be just as exhausting as spending time with a large group of people. This is because when you are spending time with just one person, you are constantly using your social skills to keep the conversation going and/or listen. Whereas in a group, there is so much more activity (therefore, it’s tiring), but each individual is not required to constantly talk or listen. You can actually sometimes sit back and just observe when you’re in a group of people, especially (really, only) when there are extroverts in the group who will pretty much take over the conversation.

If everyone in the group is an introvert, I end up doing most of the interacting, which is the most exhausting situation of all because there is the combination of more people, and more communicating and listening on my part. When you are in a group of introverts and you are the most extroverted (or willing to talk) the rest of the introverts tend to look to you when they are talking. So you end up talking half the time (mainly asking questions of each individual to get other people talking), and you are also the main one who has to be actively listening and engaged in the group conversation the entire time.

In fact, I remember a specific time in my life when this occurred quite often. When I was a senior in college I was a small group leader of about 10 freshman. We met once a week and we could basically talk about whatever we wanted. I came up with plans on what we could discuss and activities we could do to break the ice, get to know each other, open up, learn from each other, develop interpersonal skills and empathy, and work through any issues anyone was going through. One of the things I really had to teach them was to look around the room at each person while they talked, because they always had a tendency to look solely at me, their leader, when they were sharing. This is a skill I developed over the course of being in my own small groups, and it actually helps bring everyone into the conversation and helps everyone feel included.

That was a really good experience for me, even as an introvert. When I was in college, I actually took the Myers-Briggs test and I was actually smack dab in the middle of being an introvert and extrovert. But I think the reason for that is simply that I was constantly in social situations that I even made myself think I was more extroverted than I was. But my true self really desires and thrives by spending a lot of time alone.

Introverts as a whole prefer to think rather than interact, and I do believe after thinking thoroughly about this that I am definitely more of an introvert than an extrovert, and I have simply learned how to act like an extrovert when needed, even though I don’t prefer that role.

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Thoughts?

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