I’m sure we’re all familiar with the various different personality types out there: The Visionary (ENTP), The Caregiver (ESFJ), The Thinker (INTP), The Nurturer (ISFJ), and so forth.
(If you aren’t sure which one you are, there are many personality tests online that you can easily take for free and it’d only take a few minutes. In fact, here’s the one I took.)
I am an introvert — specifically The Advocate (INFJ-A) — and a pretty textbook type of one too. In my childhood, I hated being an introvert — even tried to fight it — but I soon learned to like it…probably because it was just what I was comfortable with. Then eventually, I actually started using it more like an excuse to avoid things or justify my actions.
Researchers have found that unhappy people are socially withdrawn and keep to themselves. In contrast, happy people are sociable, flexible, and creative. They identify with love and compassion easier than unhappy people and tend to be more forgiving. So are introverts just scientifically unhappy and extroverts born happy? If we attain mental lasting joy through love and generosity, are introverts incapable of living joyfully and extroverts blessed with enlightenment naturally? Sure, extroverts are more social and can identify with their feelings toward others easier, but introverts are more self-reflective and can identify the perspectives of others easier. Both need to equally train their human tendencies toward achieving mental joy.
What keeps each personality type to their own tendencies is distrust. We fear stepping out of our comfort zones of our personalities’ actions and reactions. Shy people — like me — have a hard time reaching out to others out of fear of rejection. But if we approach people with trust that they will at least listen, then it inspires trust in them as well. Genuine relationships are based entirely on trust and when you have a sense of concern and compassion for the well-being of others, trust develops. That is the basis of friendship and all personality types need friendships, just like how we all need love to survive.
Both introverts and extroverts are born with the love and generosity needed to cultivate relationships; only today’s circumstances, environments, and education lack the focus on inner-values which in turn, creates a self-centered society driven by insecurity and fear. This self-centered attitude causes you to distance yourself from others and create distrust, which can lead to many frustrations like anxiety, anger, even violence. But if we took a moment to really think about it, our fears are often exaggerated when provoked by something rather insignificant: our thoughts of “me me me”.
We need to redirect selfish concerns from ourselves to the well-being of others. We need to find the courage to face our fears and develop the trust our relationships need to cultivate compassion and generosity. And I need to stop using my personality type to justify my insecurities.
Our personality types don’t contain us; they allow us to better understand our fears and find the courage to act despite them.
“Courage is the triumph of our heart’s love and commitment over our mind’s reasonable murmurings to keep us safe.”
DAY 10. Love, Ro