i took a Myers Briggs personality test today. it confirmed all my greatest hopes and fears. as an ENFP i am a sensitive idealistic spazz ball of energy and there is really nothing I should or could ever do about it. my friend was also this type and had an entire book with extensive knowledge and resources for me to discover. reading even the first few chapters instantly quelled any hesitations i had about this being my true personality type.
my habits of wavering between introverted and extroverted tendencies, my childhood struggles as an intuitive in a world full of sensors, and my perpetual grass is greener syndrome (no matter how lush my own lawn was), all came screaming up at me from various pages. word by word i was confronted with the reality that these were not quirky traits that would be smoothed out by the time my mid twenties hit.
this was me. biologically, chemically, mentally, through and through. this seemingly personal and highly relatable cranial map led me to two conclusions. my entire child and teenage hood had been dominated by feeling of being atypical, the impossibility of describing my complex inner world, and the desperate seeking of others like myself (when i only seemed surrounded by everyone else). yet it was impossible that i was the only person in the world reading these pages and nodding with astonished compliance. these ostracizing qualities connected me quite profoundly with a whole network of ENFP's and other intuitive dominant personalities.
i kept reading. chapters about relationship compatibility, ideal work environments and success patterns of my own type and others. even as my brain extended great waves of compassion to my younger self, who then lacked the vocabulary and resources to fully understand and accept the chaotic beauty of her erratic nature, there was something i had learned since then.
back in those days my deepest wish was to find a companion. not necessarily a romantic partner, but a real good soul fit all the same. someone who loved as recklessly and as often as they changed their minds. someone who dreamed big and found their greatest comfort on the fringes of reality. someone who i could take all the splendors and awe of every single possibility and share it with. and most importantly of all someone to confirm i wasn't point blank insane. in order to feel this way i wanted to find someone just like me.
a Loving and Compassionate Universe eventually delivered. they arrived slowly. rarely more than one at a time, and for natural and mutually accepted reasons we usually drifted in and out of each other peripheries from year to year. but each grasp of cool fresh air that these encounters afforded me, as our heads burst above water and we momentarily floated together, encouraged me to keep swimming through my own vast oceans until we could meet again. gaining soul sustenance and a reason to move on, my overall trajectory changed.
i knew with quiet certainty that more would be coming and that we would unconditionally Love every moment spent together. so i stopped yearning exclusively for people just like me, and moved towards broadening my scope of affection and attentions.
i eventually realized that there was no harm in not being understood. that not every person i met needed to be able to relate to me. strangeness bred curiosity and i found curious people to be perfectly lovely. so were the people doing the exact opposite of everything that would have made rational sense in my own brain. those types always laid my own inferiorities blatantly bare- and this exchange was exhilarating. we pushed each other to become aware of our boundaries, and in doing so laid down the foundation for their expansion. i helped them dream big and they helped me find my roots in reality. and the whole time neither group came to any real understanding of the other nor were we merely tolerating each others differences. by welcoming interactions between people who made me feel particularly odd and unconventional, and in being welcomed by them in return, i came to understand an inescapable condition of our humanity- our deep interdependence.
hanging around people similar to you can be Life affirming and energizing. but everyone else is here to help you acknowledge and integrate your shadows. they are not necessarily "bad" or "negative" parts of yourself, but simply the aspects which come less naturally and therefore need a little extra Love and attention in order to become a beneficial part of the team. yet even someone who is perfectly whole and balanced still needs others. others to bounce ideas, expand horizons, and share the jubilant dance of existence.
i hate almost every label that comes my way (ironically, this too being a trait that the ENFP label describes) but sometimes the right ones just fit. its never a concrete or total view. but it can lead to building a substantial foundation for understanding and accepting yourself just as you are. and no matter who you are, how black your sheep may be, or how many times you've sworn it simply can not be true, there are others out there like you too. and if you still don't believe me don't despair. because some of your best team mates will be nothing like you. they will be the people who gladly take on the tasks that you deplore, and who look to you for advice you find easy as breathing.
"no one understands me"
my moody simpering teenage self scrawled in the back of notebooks.
"and that's ok."
wrote my moderately more mature and vastly more relaxed young adult hand.
a deep and Loving acceptance of myself made it that much easier to extend the same to others. even when this meant embracing the Unknown. because your entire self is not a neat and tidy book that can be articulated and understood from front to back in twelve chapters. but a well written and sincere passage, which finds it way into your Life at the perfect moment in the perfect way, just might be able to shed a bit of Light where there was once only a shadow of doubt. and in these small and sputtering ways we learn that every type of person is worthy of our time and every part of ourselves is worth of our attention. and this give us courage to turn the page and start writing a better chapter.