We’re all a little different. Our quirks, passions, ideals, beliefs are all unique to each of us. I’d been hearing stuff like this for years, but until the past few months, I had no idea what it really meant.
I’m something of a sucker for psychology. It was one of my three minors in college, and the human experience has always fascinated me. “What makes us tick?” and “What makes us unique?? have always been questions that lingered in the back of my mind. A few months ago, a friend asked if I had ever taken the Myers-Briggs test (MBTI), a personality test based on Carl Jung’s theories of personality. It had been years since my last attempt, but I told her my last result. Because it had been probably a decade since my last test, I retook it on a whim, and got a different result. Much more different, and much more earth-shattering than the last one.
Jung’s theories test introversion vs. extroversion (which I’ve written about before), as well as how we gather information, make decisions, and how we assess the world around us. My score, INFJ, is the most rare of all the 16 personality types, with only about one percent of the total human population possessing this type. I’d long been told that I was weird, and strange, and goofy, and moody, etc. Until I took the test and got this result, which resonated with me on a level I’d never experienced, I’d just thought that I was, weird, strange, goofy, and moody. But I wasn’t weird, just rare.
With the help and power of social media, I reached out to other people who identified as INFJs, including my very dear friend Amelia, as well as INFJ/Introvert troubadour Jenn Granneman. There was a huge conversation today on Twitter about how those of us who identify with this moniker coped with living in a world that didn’t really seem to fit us. It began as something small but as it always does with people like us, who crave understanding and connection, it spread like wildfire, and continues even as I write this. Most of the participants in this conversation admit to being misunderstood or unaccepted in our youth because, as Introvert hero Susan Cain suggests, our culture requires us to be outgoing and bold in order to succeed. Meanwhile, people like Rosa Parks, Mahatma Ghandi, and Nelson Mandela were quiet revolutionaries and accomplished what they accomplished despite being in the limelight, not because they were in the limelight.
And that’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it? Little, unsung victories that remind us of our strength, our power, and our inner light? Most of us will never be famous, and most of us would rather not be in the spotlight anyway. What we’re really looking for is connection. An answer to our test for an echo. A realization that we aren’t alone, and that there are those out there, in the great big noise that is humanity, who get us. We all deny ourselves of our truth in an attempt to fit with people who we want to accept us, all the while, failing to realize that we already fit with people we don’t know and don’t see, until we open our hearts, shout into the void, and listen for the response.