I recently enjoyed viewing wedding photos from the faraway wedding of a friend’s son.
I don’t know the bride but I could just tell from the photos that she’s got personality.
You know what I mean. Personality just oozes from some people. They’re just like the old song from the 50’s, (You’ve Got) Personality.
Listen here if you don’t know this song:.
People with personality are…well, they are all personality.
Borrowing the lyrics from that old song, they:
Years ago, I took a personality test just to see how my temperament would be assessed. You can find these tests online if you want to check out your own disposition.
Upon finishing the questions, you learn your personality type which depends on how you answer questions in four basic categories. If you tend to focus on the outer world, you’re rated E for Extraversion. If you instead prefer to concentrate on your own inner world, you get an I for Introversion.
The way you process information is also assessed. You are either Sensing (S) because you tend to focus on the basic information you take in or you like to interpret information and add meaning to it. That earns you an N for Intuition.
The next category rates how you make decisions. If you make choices using logic and consistency, a T for Thinking is added to your determination. But if you consider people and special circumstances when you make decisions, you get the F label for Feeling.
How you deal with the outside world is also evaluated. If you prefer to get things decided, you are in the Judging (J) type (note that doesn’t necessarily mean judgmental, it just means you access things and make up your mind) or if you stay open to new information and options, you get a P for Perceiving.
While cleaning out some desk drawers and files, I found my old personality test from many years ago. If the test can be believed, it categorized me as ESFJ, being extraverted, sensing, feeling and judging.
This personality type was described in the following way: “ESFJ type = you are warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. You want harmony in your environment, and you work with determination to establish it. You like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. You are loyal and follow through even in small matters. You notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and you try to provide it. You want to be appreciated for who you are and for what you contribute.”
As I read that, for the most part I agreed with it all. Yes, I thought, it does sound like me.
But just for kicks, I decided I would take another personality test online and see whether the same results ensued. I didn’t expect the outcome, which caused me to ponder a bit. I don’t necessarily take great stock in these things, but still it made me wonder.
Because according to the recent test, I’ve changed my personality type. Huh? Does one do that? I always thought your basic personality or temperament or whatever you want to call it remained the same during your lifetime. I thought you were born that way and so, you died that way too.
However, if I am to believe that the recent test I took is accurate, I’ve undergone a personality change!
This time I was categorized as INFJ. The first two categories changed from extrovert to introvert, from sensing to intuitive. This is how my current personality was described: “INFJ = you seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. You want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. You are conscientious and committed to your firm values. You develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. You are organized and decisive in implementing your vision.”
Hmmm. I can see where some of that description is fitting for me but some of it seems way off base, especially that finding meaning in material possessions thing. I asked my husband, who has known me for my entire adult life, if he thought my personality has changed.
He hesitated as he thought it over, and then answered that there have been some changes. I used to be more outgoing and talkative. Now, I tend to listen more and talk less and seem more reserved. At least that’s what he thought.
So here’s what I gleaned from all of this. When I took a personality test the first go-round, I was much younger and a nurturing stay at home mother with three children and a husband who traveled a lot for his career.
No wonder I desired “harmony in my environment,” noticed what “others need in their day-by-day lives,” and tried to provide it. It also explains why I wanted to be “appreciated” for who I was and for what I “contributed.”
Makes perfect sense to me. But now, I am an older, and hopefully wiser, empty nest mom/wife who views life from an entirely different perspective. That’s why I “seek meaning and connection” in ideas and relationships. I am committed to my “firm values” and I do think I’ve learned to be more insightful about people.
So does personality change with age? Or does it change because of our perspective? Do our circumstances alter personality? Or is it just that we answer the questions differently in various stages of life? What do you think? I’m truly interested in your opinion on this subject.
I do know one thing for certain. On this best day of the year, I DO have personality. (Just look at that picture of me above!) Whether it’s changed or not, I know that I’m also just like Popeye the Sailor Man, “I yam what I yam!”