Monday, January 14, 2013

KVAP Quandary: Myer-Briggs + Political Compass= Natural Biopolar State?

Alaska is having a multiple weather personality day: Cold--rain--snow--heavy rain--snow--ice rain--heavy snow.  That, along with the regular navigating of interpersonal relationships and browsing the Linked In TED Talks Forums, got me thinking about my own personality. What am I like?

Fun-loving and playful, but has serious limits.
Well, first of all I am upfront.  I will tell you I am the most sweetest, loving, helpful, supportive person who WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE HELL if you purposely push the emotional buttons I have willingly revealed to you.  Unfortunately, people don't heed this warning.  They think I'm being some form of humble, or silly, or (enter adjective here).  Perhaps it's denial.  Yet, since coming back from Guatemala (oh, BTW I was there for two weeks), things have grown contentious on the home front in ways all too familiar.  People push me to give emotionally without wanting to reciprocate.  People want me to sacrifice my resources without wanting to sacrifice theirs.  They like to talk about compromise without putting anything on the table.  And the closest ones, the ones I love the most, want to love with no strings attached. And for the most part I'm sweet, patient, and supportive of their fears and who they are.  I suggest alternative perspectives, give in hopes they will give too, try to find a gentle solution.  Yet, this only seems to encourage them to push the emotional buttons harder (think the Hit Crocodile Game at Chuck E. Cheese's).  Until one day, I grab the emotional sledgehammer and stand there in silence.  It's obvious I'm not moving anymore.  And it's obvious that all the benefits of being loved by me will now come to an end.  I don't have to say a thing.  And the gods know I'm not doing anything either.

Sometimes it means I lose a loved one.  But if I've reached this point, it's obvious I don't care.  My life has always turned out better in the end--ALWAYS-- because the amount of emotional energy I acquiesced (not to mention sanity) is regained.  It's a pattern that has cycled through my life from a very young age.  I never understood it.  Why would anyone purposely push the emotional buttons of someone who loves and supports them so deeply?  Enter the Myer-Briggs Personality Test and the Political Compass Test.

As mentioned above, I took the Myer-Briggs Test after stumbling upon the topic in a forum.  My results were not too surprising:

ENFJ: Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging

Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.

No surprise to me other than I found it a bit optimistic.  Remember I said I was honest about who I really am--that means the good as well as the bad.  It wasn't until I got home that I found the other side of this coin, when my son told me about the Political Compass Test he took in class.  He was a bit remiss because his score came close to Gandhi.  After dinner, I took the test and though I shouldn't have been surprised by the results, it definitely gave me pause.  The three political leaders I scored closest to:

My results via Political Compass
Nelson Mandela
The Dalai Lama
Oh hey Gandhi too.

The three people who have inspired me most in life. 

That made me raise an eyebrow.  Could such extremely opposite personality traits exist in one person?  I thought about the guy in Antigua who asked my husband if I was hard to live with.  My husband hemmed and hawed, but I bluntly answered, "Yes.  Yes, I am."  Now I know why.

The Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela
in the lower left green grid
Ultimately, what does this all mean?  Well, probably that life will go on as usual.  That I will be EVEN MORE upfront about my emotional buttons.  That I will understand people who are pushing them are ready for the kind of life change only a revolutionary can incur; and maybe that is the real love and support they need.  More than being there for them, maybe they really need less.  Still I plan to affix some heavy warning labels, red flags, bright orange stickers, and stuff to my personality:

WARNING: Love and loyalty are unconditional, but still comes with a price.  For everything I give, you must give.  For everything you take, I take.  Strings are attached.  Compromise is possible.  Get greedy, controlling, or intolerably selfish and there is an inner revolutionary that will escape her cage and even the playing field.  I don't want to go there.  Play fair.

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