There isn’t a single day that goes by in my life when I am not reminded in some way, somehow, that I am inherently different from most people walking this earth – at least it feels that way. Trying to figure out why that is has been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember. It’s not that I’m odd-looking, or particularly weird, or behave strangely in any way, at least not as far as I know! It has more to do with what’s going on inside and how I perceive the world and navigate through life compared to most others. The incongruity that manifests from that never fails to leave me feeling out of step with the rest of the world. It seems I have a permanently reserved seat on the outer fringes of life.
I have searched, and continue to search, high and low for an answer, an explanation, some insight, anything to settle my unsettled mind. I just want to know why; I need to understand – then maybe I can leave it alone. This powerful and unrelenting need to know and understand things is pervasive in everything I do, but it is particularly entrenched in my quest to understand my feelings of being different, and of the attached sense of isolation that has a stubborn hold on my psyche.
Over the years I have identified different factors that might be at play, but mostly, I have targetted my introverted personality. And there is no doubt that my deep introversion leaves me in the minority in this world – there aren’t many of us who sit on the high end of the introversion spectrum and society most definately reflects that. It makes it very difficult to find kindred spirits and is a big factor in my sense of isolation to be sure. Still, I have always thought there was more to it than that. But what?
For the past several years I have been interested in Myers-Briggs personality typing, a theory on personality based on psychologist Carl Jung`s work on personality typing. I have taken the test numerous times and, although I have had subtle differences in the results, they have usually indicated that I am of the INTP personality type. That is, Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving. Without going into great detail, this personality type has a strong internalized thinking/logical approach to life. It is the personality type that seeks answers to everything and anything of interest simply for the sake of knowing and making sense. It is the type that loves abstract thought and feasts on theory. The type is known to be strongly rational as opposed to highly emotional. Feelings are there, but they are in the recessive position. And this is where I have always put the brakes on. I am not one to lack feelings and because of this, I have always resisted the INTP label, even though it fits like a glove in every other way.
I recently decided to research the INTP personality more broadly and as a result have developed a deeper understanding of the type. The INTP is in fact capable of great emotions and strong feelings – some INTPs more than others. The belief that the rational personality is incapable of feelings has no basis. We do however prefer to make choices and decisions in life only after long consideration of all of the facts. And, although we may have very strong feelings about an issue, we generally are distrustful of those feelings and prefer to rely on common sense and logic in the end.
Another reason why I have been resistant to the idea that I am an INTP is that this personality type is only found in about 5% of the population. And it becomes even more rare in the female population. It didn’t make sense to me that I would fall within a personality trait that is so extremely uncommon. I am just not that special :-). However, I realize now that it has nothing to do with being special, or having extraordinary talent, or some rare ability; it is simply a personality type. A way of perceiving the world that happens to be different from most. And there’s the crux of it. It is at least one other explanation for why I have always felt different, out of step, and at odds with the world. The light bulb has just gone on and I think I see the light..
So, this brings me to the title of my post. You are not my type – because, unfortunately, chances are that you are not. And that is a sad thing really. We INTP’s long to share our thoughts with other mind-mates. We have so much going on in our heads, so many ideas and theories, so many interests, but no one to share them with. Who else really cares about Dabrowski`s Theory of Positive Disintegration? I live and breathe this theory; I have thoroughly dissected it and know it inside and out. I understand it and it makes sense to me and I would love to share views on it. Unfortunately for me, it’s not number one on most people’s list of interesting topics of discussion, lol. Nor is humanistic psychology, or Maslow’s theory of self-actualization, or Carl Rogers’ perspective on unconditional positive regard, or the theory of flow by Csikszentmihalyi. The list goes on. It’s not to say that my relationship with others is void of satisfaction; I have great friends and close family. But it is a disapointing fact of life that I will probably never find a true kindred spirit who has the same passions as I do. Such is life.
On a lighter note, I came across a site that actually analyzes your personality type based on your blog! You have to take it with a grain of salt of course, but it is fun. I submitted my blog and, lo and behold, it came back INTP. Cool.
The site is called Typealizer. I chose and submitted three blogs that I follow, just for fun 🙂
Sparkle and Bloom : You are ESTJ/ Extroverted Sensing Thinking Judging (known as the Guardians);
Cozyblanketsnowflakerepititioncompulsion (phew!): You are INFP / Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceptive (known as the Idealist);
Derdo : You are ESTP / Extraverted Sensing Thinking Perceptive (known as the Doers).
It would be fun to know if you agree with this personality type.
Here are some links :
Take the test : http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
Typealizer : http://www.typealyzer.com/