Dump Vultures

How much of your personality is your intrinsic self? If y0u are braving against mere survival instincts, then against comfort, then in spite of these influences insisting on having your personal preference – are you then displaying true personality? It takes some comfort level before types will declare their independence and take a chance on their guns to see them through. Some types won’t be needy, will test fate even when they’ve got next to nothing to depend on. Others will need to be much more self-assured before they’re willing to risk (astrological Cancers, I’m thinking of you). Where do we draw the line between the effect of our environment and the effect of our soul’s urge to change our experience of our environment?

Where do you draw the line? I want to know as much as you do. I want to sleep at night, amidst both my dreams and my nightmares, knowing whether I’m being true to myself or giving in to impulses based on fear, even when I’m afraid. I want to know what I fear is being taken from me, so that I understand that fear better. So that I understand me better, so that I might become a stronger person in its wake (no pun intended – but not too shabby, eh?).

“True personality” might include an acceptance of childhood environment and adult environment into its calculation, but I have a hard time accepting this. If we were born and raised in our personal rendition of Utopia, and still there, among other Utopians, who would we be upon our choosing? Or better yet, if we could design it, what would “Utopia” be like?

On my route back from work I usually see many vultures circling over the dump. They are attracted by the scent of bacteria in the wind, their best chance of eating in the way they are designed. I want to believe that humans are more than that. When we are assured of our basic or “physiological needs”, our “safety needs”, and perhaps our “love and belonging needs”, according to Maslow, we seek to satisfy more personal desires. That’s where personality may shine brightest, for we are no longer burdened by the seriousness of our needs or the grasp it has on our minds. When we feel a sense of desperation or duty and we must stave off less immediate concerns in order to accomplish a basic level of security, making adjustments to our personality to do so, we are some other version of ourselves. Are we each one personality, or a set of personalities tailored according to the situations we find ourselves in?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Here’s an interesting version:

Murray’s Needs

One final question: Is a unique personality a total combination of all consistent traits in action or reaction to the fulfillment of needs, wearing a slightly different “mask” of the self as befitting the needs of the moment?

Ye Olde Myers-Briggs

via MBTIonline.com | The Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Currently one of the most well-known personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. I’m not trying to disparage it by saying that the last time I took this test I came out a four-way tie. That’s not really their fault, that’s the story of my life. Allow me this aside:

My astrology chart is fairly well-balanced around the wheel, which for me means that I’m pulled in different directions at once. I’m some of this, but also that, and I land in an in-between place that is neither here nor there. I’d make a horrible Nazi. That’s part of why I’m attracted to the subject of personality: I appreciate the peculiar and often humorous traits of others, but I also need to – you guessed it – get a grip on myself. But a couple jots better than Britney Spears does.

If you hear anyone talk of being a personality type and rattling off four letters that are unpronounceable together, that person may have taken the Myers-Briggs (or another test based on the same/similar concept, such as 16 Personalities. Both were launched from the work of Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who, in his 1921 book Psychological Types, laid the conceptual groundwork these tests stand upon).

16 Personalitites.com

I think of myself as an INTJ (Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging) type, or as 16 Personalities puts it, an “Architect”. Yet again, in their test, I came out nearly a 4-way tie (though technically a 2-way tie).

I think these tests are wonderful, and everyone should take them. Take all personality tests, for that matter. There is no real harm. But what does eat at me is that they are only asking me about me. My perception of myself, no matter how honest I think I’m being, is most likely skewed.

Were these tests handed to friends (let’s do it) and family (shudder), I expect the results would be different. I think me next post will be about the Johari window, and how best to clean it.