Why are we the way we are? As in, why do we perceive things in our minds like we do and then respond to them how we do? Clearly, some of it is willful, but much of it is because of factors like where we're from and how we were raised, what we've experienced (privileges, losses, big t or little T traumas), and maybe even how we were just hatched out of our eggs in the first place. Increasingly, people I know are all about personality tests: Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, and astrology sun/moon stuff seems to be making a comeback.
I've always had a bit of cynicism about these as I am a WOMAN OF SCIENCE SHE SAYS WITH A STRAIGHT FACE. ;) I was trained in Western Medicine and know how to analyze credible data like a mofo, but I'm also kind of a hippie and believe in worlds undiscovered and the complexity of the mind and soul. And I MORE THAN dabble in depression and anxiety, so would always love to understand why the fuck I am the way I am, and if there's a way to make it...easier?
I was initially worried that I might fail the personality tests, which is probably a test on its own, but eventually, I did them all. Also, still laughing about when I volunteered at that Barbie convention years ago and took a horoscope matching quiz and learned that my husband and I have THE WORST MATCHED SIGNS. LIKE, OF ALL OF THEM. LIKE, WE ARE ABSOLUTELY, 100% DOOMED BY THE STARS. So that's a fun thing to know. ;)
I've actually have found these tests helpful in understanding myself, and, almost as importantly, helpful in understanding the people I love. Somehow they help me give ME and THEM the benefit of the doubt. For example, my husband may not be asking me that question for the fourth time because he wants to see my brain explode all over the floor, but rather because he processes information in a way that is not the same as how I do it, and it's not him being shitty, but truly just requiring the info delivered to him differently than I intuitively did it. Here's where I get really caught up, though, because THE WAY I DID IT IS THE RIGHT WAY, so it gets a bit sticky sometimes. ;)
It's helping us find understanding and harmony, easier communication and resolution to conflicts. We're also aggressively trying to give each other the benefit of the doubt in every situation and not just assume the other is being a mean stupid turd.
Also, the last few freelance writing gigs I've gotten, the topic of Enneagram has come up- turns out that there are certain personality types who are great for certain tasks. Who knew? (Likely the opposite is true, too, and maybe they were using it to weed me out- I'll let you know)
So, the Enneagram is the numbers, 1-9. When I've tested, I've gotten different ones, but always predominantly 2 with 3 and 4 behind. When I read a description of these three types, it annoys the pissticles off of me because it describes me so perfectly. I thought I was a special flower, I guess? It turns out I'm just a little chemistry experiment of a human like every one else.
So, here's me, everything anyone needs to know about me, trapped in a bloody large nut shell (that's from Austin Powers, youngins). I like that this offers ways to deal with these types, too, and you KNOW I'm sending them to my spouse and taping them to my forehead.
"Twos ("The Helper") are a feeling-based type with a focus on relationship. They excel at making connections and empathizing with the needs and feelings of other people. They are usually good at supporting others and helping bring out their potential. However, turning their attention toward themselves and knowing what they themselves need is much more difficult. They want to be accepted and liked by others, and they will adapt or change themselves to earn this approval. A bit like emotional sponges, Twos have to be very careful what they absorb from the people around them...." DAMMMMITTTTTTT. All of it. Every bit. I've been told by almost everyone who loves me that I'm a great listener but cagey as hell when it comes to sharing about myself. I though it was a fear of vulnerability/trust issues I picked up like souvenirs along the way, but maybe it's just the way I came.
"Threes ("The Performer") are feeling-based types, but they channel their emotional energy into getting things done. They take the initiative and work hard to accomplish their goals. They are highly adaptable, and they excel at "feeling out" and meeting the expectations of others when that will lead them to success. They like to stay active and on the go, so it's hard to stop or slow down. Their focus on keeping up their image and achieving results can get in the way of personal needs and health." Shit, shit, shit, shit it me it me it me it me.
"Fours ("The Romantic") are feeling-based types who often experience a sense of longing and melancholy. Something is missing for them, which can lead to a quest for wholeness through romantic idealism, healing, or aesthetics. When they compare themselves to others, Fours experience feelings of envy. They seek meaning and depth in their relationships, their work, or in a quest for personal creativity. Many Fours are artists who excel at expressing universal human emotions in dance, music, and poetry. While they seek to have a good image, it's most important for them to be authentic. Often passionate, sometimes overly emotional, their attention moves back and forth from empathizing with others to their own inner experience. They need time alone. The key to healing and growth for Fours is to balance sadness with the capacity for happiness and satisfaction, even if the relationship or the experience seems flawed or incomplete."
I mean, what the hell, this is just annoying how much it echoes my inside voice. Probably the fact that reading those makes me hella uncomfortable can be explained by one of my numbers, but I don't care to prod right now, I feel too exposed. GO DO YOUR OWN! Stop looking at me, swan! (that is from Billy Maddison, youngins).
You do yours now so I'm not alone here. There are a bunch of free and $$ ways to get them. Here's the free one that I did. If you do it, let me know what you think. Also, another Enneagram expert was recently interviewed on Glennon Doyle's podcast, "We Can Do Hard Things," and explained it all beautifully, if you'd rather listen than read.
There's also the Personality Test with all the letters. Every time I take it I get a little different score, but it's been INFJ-T or INTJ. I don't hit as hard with this one, but I also haven't explored it as much. Apparently I'm an 'Advocate' or 'Architect,' and I think I'll stop taking them so I never get assigned a different A word.
Lastly, and this one is a tiny bit woo-woo, but what the hell, let's woo it up: based on your birthday and time of day, you can figure out what your sun and moon signs are. According to starslikeyou.com: "In many ways, your moon sign will describe what you do naturally, and your sun sign will point to what you will develop, as well as who you must become."
For me, my sun sign is Scorpio and Moon sign is Cancer. I was born in the end of October- it's long, so I only copied the stuff that feels like it fits me and makes me look good:
"Scorpios are known for their intensity. Scorpios do know what they want and aren't afraid of getting their hands (their bodies, their minds) dirty. The darker side of life intrigues them, and they're always ready to investigate. Scorpios simply never give up. They have tremendous staying power. Talk to any Scorpio about their lives, and you'll probably be in awe at all they've gone through. Trauma seems to follow them wherever they go. When Scorpio learns optimism, instead of expecting the worst, they'll find that they possess amazing regenerative powers -- the power to heal, create, and transform. Physical energy and courage. Strong passions. Regeneration and improvement. Strong sexual powers (WOOOOOOOOO!!!!! YOU HEAR THAT, UNIVERSE! I AM A SEX DRAGON WARRIOR QUEEN, THA'S RIGHT!).
Moon in Cancer have a large potential to be able to get in touch with the feelings and moods of others. Often, they are quite wrapped up in themselves. They seek out security and familiarity in all they do. They look for peace and quiet. Their attachment to all that is safe means they are a little leery of change. These peace-loving souls dislike superficiality in all of its forms. They may dwell on hurts long after everyone else has moved on. When they feel they have been taken for granted (which may be often!), they don't always confront others directly. This is when they can use roundabout ways to get your attention. In fact, these natives, when they are insecure, can become quite manipulative. They can also be victims of habit. These people can have a hard time compartmentalizing their lives, simply because their watery Moon tends to know no boundaries. Sometimes, as a result, they may act irrationally. One of the most delightful characteristics of Moon in Cancer people is their loony sense of humor. These people can be extraordinarily funny. Their moodiness can baffle others, but their unique outlook on life is something most people can appreciate. When treated with tenderness and understanding, Moon in Cancer natives return the favor with warmth and protection- likeable and sociable. Very sensitive to environmental conditions and surroundings, likes home, habits, comfort and her little world."
Yeah, so I don't understand all the houses and planets in alignment stuff, but a lot of what's above fits me. Do yours! Let me know what you think!?!?
Share in a comment what your thoughts are on all of this. If you follow these, does it impact how you see/treat yourself? How you have relationships? Does it help you make decisions?
We're just always trying to figure out how to person, ya know??