Smile #11 ~ INFP

11 Jan

The more I write, the more I have come to realize that one of my greatest challenges is consistency of character. As I go through and edit, I find I have inserted my own personality into my characters’ thoughts, their actions, their emotions. Even their dialogue. My workaholics become procrastinating coffee-addicts. My girly-girls poo-poo their heels and start lounging around in jeans and flip-flops. My tough guys cry. It would be easy (and awesome!) to write a novel full of little mini-mes, running amuck in my imaginary land, but one personality living in harmony with itself does not make the world go round. In all honesty, if I ever happened to find myself surrounded by a whole bunch of me, it would probably be far from harmonious. I can be a bit of a handful sometimes. It takes a personality like my husband’s to balance me out and keep my world on an even keel.

The best thing about people is how different we are from one another.  We see different. Taste different. Speak of different things in different languages. We hold different beliefs, want for different things, act and re-act in different ways. We love one another because of these differences. Unfortunately, our difference are also why we fight with one another. We don’t understand different. Different can be scary, especially when one who is different than us tries to strip away our differences and turn us into something that more resembles them. We go to war to make countries of mini-mes because ‘I’ am not scared of ‘me.’ I understand me. I find comfort in me. It is you who is different, so it is you who must change.

But is change even possible? According to the experts, personalities are already established at birth. Society can influence you, but not completely alter you. We have to embrace our differences and learn to live together.

In order to better understand the differences between myself and others, I must first better understand myself. And, by knowing who I am, I can identify which of my fictional characters’ personality traits are true, and which are mere reflections of myself.  At least that was my reasoning when I sat down to take The Keirsey Temperament Sorter personality test this afternoon. Seventy, quick, easy, painless, multiple-choice questions…. “Is it better to be (a) just or (b) merciful”… “Waiting in line, do you (a) chat with others or (b) stick to business”… It took about ten minutes to answer the questions, another ten to tally up the score, and then I was off to the Myers-Briggs website to look up what the heck INFP meant! This is who they say I am:

“Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Want an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seek to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened.”

Cool. But I needed more. A lot more. I wanted to truly understand what makes me “Me.” According to Keirsey, INFP translates to Healer:

“Healers live a fantasy-filled childhood…”

“They have a gift for interpreting stories, as well as for creating them, and thus often write in lyric, poetic fashion….”

“Healers are adaptable, welcome new ideas and new information, are patient with complicated situations, but impatient with routine details….”

“Healers have very high standards. Consequently, they are usually hard on themselves, and don’t give themselves enough credit….”

“Healers can be both extremely romantic and extremely independent. They are likely to want a mate who won’t shrink from their expansive imagination…..”

*cue dramatic music, beam of light* Ahhhhh!

Finally, someone managed to explain me! I felt as though I was reading my biography. I tried showing it to my husband, “See? See? This is why I do what I do! Why I am who I am!” But he wasn’t interested. He says personality tests are no different than horoscopes, written to mimic just enough of everyone so they apply to all who read them. Hrmp! Maybe he’s right, but I’m a compassionate, adaptable, accepting, devoted, and imaginative Pieces, and proud of it!

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where they overlap.” ~Ani DiFranco

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4 Responses to “Smile #11 ~ INFP”

  1. justlyd January 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    I feel like I do that a lot too- inject myself into the characters that I write.. I’m trying not to though! 🙂 That personality test sounds very interesting……….

    • Donna January 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

      It was very interesting. I got it from the pastor at the church awhile ago, and had been putting off taking it. I think I was afraid of what it would reveal. Pretty cool results though, and I really hope it will help me with my character development. I want them all to be true, unique individuals. Maybe I should give each of them the same test. LOL

  2. jcnierad January 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    Thanks for this post. I am a fellow INFP and a fellow Pisces! Reading the personality description for INFP always makes me think, Yes! that’s me.

    • Donna January 11, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      How wonderful to meet another INFP Pisces! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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