My family & friends are well aware of my personality typing obsession. My journey began a few years ago as I spoke with a priest friend about my doubts and insecurities. He pulled a cover-torn book off of his shelf and gently instructed me to read it. I quickly devoured it and returned for the next. I was fascinated. So began the nightly drilling of my poor husband, is this really how you feel in groups of people? Is this what motivates you? Is this how you view the world? Of course after 5 years of marriage I knew my husband very well, I knew opposites attract, I knew we complimented each other…but until I took time to read these books, it never truly clicked for me. The knowledge became life changing. The deep understanding of the human person. Words that articulated our innate differences. Luckily, my siblings are equally fascinated, and those family conversations over our individual personalities are some of my most treasured. We discuss why one desires debate on everything, one’s determined to follow tradition, one can so easily let things go, and so on. Although one can easily judge these traits, I have found the personality typing a wonderful outlet to allow these conversations to begin, and to clearly articulate our differences.
Reflecting on St. Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 12 brings it home:
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone…If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended.”
I find this study of personality typing deeply Christian rooted in learning to accept and understand myself and others. It prevents frustration, judgement, curbs the desire to change someone else, and brings peace to every relationship. I believe it helps us become a better friend, spouse, co-worker, student and child of God. I have definitely become more compassionate in my relationships by acquiring the knowledge of personality differences, and allowing that to help me 'meet people where they are.'
It really has been transformational to my life! I want to share some of my favorite resources.
Note: Even though the fascination is not for everyone, I think even those of us who hate being labeled, or put into a box can benefit from brief test taking & interior reflection of personality typing.
- On Personality:
- On Temperament:
- The 5 Love Languages:
The saints consistently remind us of the importance of knowing ourselves. St. Francis de Sales boldly tells us, “Be who you are, and be that well,” St. Catherine of Siena “Be who you were meant to be and you will set the world on fire,” & St. Augustine, “Grant Lord, that I may know myself that I may know Thee.”
My prayer has become, Thank you Lord for creating me as an excited, extraverted, sanguine, just the way you did, and thank you for creating my creative, thoughtful, introverted, melancholic husband to compliment me so well.
We need each other’s differences in the body of Christ. We need to accept ourselves the way He created us. Personality typing is one amazing tool we can use to joyfully celebrate that.
With Joy, Alex