Personality is one of my wife’s favorite subjects. In fact, she has started a counseling graduate degree with the primary intention of working with people on personality issues. This interest of hers comes from being so benefited by understanding her own personality issues, which in fact, I’ve found to be universally true. So let’s take a look at the facts and myths of a healthy personality.
The first major pitfall is discerning between what is personality and what is dysfunction. For example, a lot of people believe they are introverts, but only really feel and act that way because of emotional and psychological issues that they’ve never been able to resolve. It’s the trauma of those issues that make them afraid of people, not their personality. You resolve the issues and suddenly, like magic, they become much more outgoing. The same can be true at the other end of the spectrum. I’ve known a significant number of professional comics and resident cut-ups who were really depressed and had big-time self-worth issues under the surface. It’s the same issue as the false introversion, but with the opposite manifestation. Both are done out of fear, to compensate for pain. Once the issues are resolved, they’ll probably laugh even more, but it won’t be forced, to cover something up. It’ll be natural.
So how do you tell if your personality issues come from dysfunction, or are just who you are? There are two quick questions you can ask yourself. First, are you doing what you’re doing out of fear? If so, unless you’re doing it in response to a life-threatening situation, that always indicates a dysfunction.
The second question is this, “Are you acting like two different people?” You may act like one person in public and another when you’re either by yourself or only around “safe” people. For the twelve years that Hope was depressed at the start of our marriage, many people outside the family had no idea! She would frequently be in the midst of crying, yelling, or something in between, and then the phone would ring and suddenly, for a few minutes, she was all rainbows and sunshine! She used to say that she was the best actress in the world.
What I couldn’t understand was why she couldn’t do that all the time, instead of only for those two or three minutes on the phone. The answer is that it takes an enormous amount of energy to act in a way so different from how you feel—no one could sustain it for long. Not only that, but the energy you’re using to do that could be the energy your body needed to prevent cancer, or diabetes, or to keep you emotionally healthy. So by keeping up the act, you’re really robbing yourself.
Now once you’ve worked past the dysfunctions, down to your God-given personality, then to me there is no wrong or even “better” personality. Yours is perfect for you. I would highly recommend starting with my Heart Issues Finder to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. But I would also use others. The DISC is highly regarded and proven over time, as is the Myers Briggs. Another that was particularly helpful to Hope and I was developed by Gary Smalley, and uses personality profiles based on animals to help you understand yourself. These personality tests typically cost a nominal fee to take, but you can learn more about the Myers Briggs here, and take a shortened, free version of it here.
Just remember, it’s impossible to get an accurate reading on your true personality until you rule out dysfunction. Until you do that, you’ll just be accepting the dysfunction as part of your personality, and likely making it even more difficult to overcome in the future. For that, use my Relationship Issues Finder test, which is free. Any area where you are in negative numbers is almost guaranteed to have a dysfunction. Fix it with Trilogy and Memory Engineering, and then use these personality tests to help improve your understanding of everything in your life.
Have a blessed, wonderful holiday!