I love personality tests. Ask any of my close friends and they could easily tell you that I can talk for a good couple hours about Meyer’s Brigg personality types. They would know that I can list off all the different personality types and give you character references for each type as well. Its a bit ridiculous really. I’ve always loved people, and I’ve always loved knowing how to love people. When I was in college, this translated into me learning more about their “personality type” and loving them off some invented formula that came out of that. Not hard to guess that my friendships in college were therefore fake, dishonest, and short lived, huh? Through the years I’ve kept my fascination with the way that people can be defined by “extroverted” or “introverted”, “judge” or “perceiver”. And within this last week I’ve realized how narrow this mindset has been.
When a friend of mine acted completely outside of what, I had decided, her personality type was, I had this realization that people may be more than what I could possibly learn about them from a personality test. That, just maybe, I had been putting people in a box, expecting them to be loved and cared for in one way, giving them only what I thought they “needed” instead of ever actually listening to the human being in front of me about what they wanted. This hit home hard when another realization came to mind, that I have defined my own being by this idea of having to be “extroverted” or “introverted”, of having to fall into some definite type in order to be someone.
Earlier today, when sitting on the couch feeling shame over the fact that I was alone and had no one to hang out with, I literally caught myself thinking,
“you’re suppose to be this big ol’ extrovert Katey. You’re suppose to have friends around you all the time and look at you, alone, day after day. “
When in the world did I start believing that being extroverted is what made me, me? That being a certain number on the Meyers Brigg scale defined “Katelyn McLaughlin”? Don’t get me wrong, I love that people know me as an upbeat and friendly person, because I am that! But even the friendliest of people have lonely and sad days, and THATS OKAY. So when did I start telling myself that it wasn’t okay for me to hang out by myself? Just like I tried to define people by personality tests and zodiac signs, I defined my own self by these things. Isn’t that how it always works though? How you treat others is a direct result of how you’re treating yourself.
I know this is kind of all a rambling mess but as I look around me and see people who society would define as “social outcasts” or “extreme introverts” surrounded by more friends than any extrovert I know, I wonder if we will ever stop trying to define people by anything other than simply who God made them to be. (<–Run on sentence alert.) Generally speaking, I love to be around people, I love to love people, and I love to laugh obnoxiously loud. But also, I love taking long drives, watching and analyzing disney animated movies (and probably crying over something in it), and sleeping in really late; ALL BY MY-DANG-SELF.
I refuse to keep shaming myself for these things. For not being what society says I am sometimes, or for not being who I’ve told myself I am for so long, whilst ignoring my heart’s needs. We’re all humans who may lean towards certain generalizations, but that does not define us and our identities are not found in if we like to be around people all the time or if we run and hide when the doorbell rings. I personally am both of those things, I love people but I run and hide when the doorbell rings. It doesn’t make sense, but who cares?! Boxes may be fun to climb in, but I don’t want to live in them. Not anymore at least.
Miss ranting and raving, full of passion but without a lot of wit, kind but sassy,