A few weeks back some friends were making fun of my tennis posts on Facebook. It was the day Rafael Nadal won his 2nd US Open trophy and 13th grand slam title. No, I don’t play tennis (nor any other sport), but I love the game, and I love Rafa more. My brain knew it was just friendly banter, no biggie. But I felt ridiculed and my inner Sheldon Cooper was clawing out. It was irrational.
The problem with me is I tend to take everything personal, too personal especially in areas I really care about. Sometimes I wish I’d stop caring about what other people say and think, and just write the hell with it. The closests say I’m insensitive, I’m not. I just CHOOSE to block my senses and pretend not to care, because if I turn on my sensitivity button all day, every day, I’ll go insane. It’s a stupid personality thing. What I hate most in the way I’m wired is that I’m frighteningly sensitive to the point that emotions become overwhelming. I also hate offending people. And whenever I do, I find myself hurting knowing I’ve hurt them. I offended a friend once, and when I realized I did, I cried myself to sleep and most of the bus ride to work the next morning, chest so heavy I couldn’t function right. No kidding. Sometimes I just want to speak without giving a rat’s ass (pardon my French) just to liberate myself. But I can’t, and it’s not exactly healthy expression since I caused someone pain, or embarrassment, or both. It’s a blessing and a curse. Stupid wiring!
I’ve learned about the Myers-Briggs 16 personality type theory when I was a freshman in college. My psychology professor had the whole class take the personality test. Then, he asked a show of hands on each personality type. My test showed I was an
Or INFP, very few of us were INFPs in that room. Too few. In fact research would say that we’re a rare species, only making 4% of the entire population. What boggled me most was how accurate I was described. Apparently we are the other extreme of the personality spectrum. We are quiet, private, and reserved, traits the majority considers as weak, think bottom of the food chain. “Stronger” personalities prey on us. We are the ones who’d cry at the sight of a pretty sunset (almost happened to me), the hermits who’d prefer the company of self rather than a room full of acquaintances. We have trouble accepting criticism and keep but a few intimate relationships. Our walls are always up, putting our guards down is an effort and a wager, so if you find yourself within our fortress, consider yourself privileged (and you’d better not betray). We are irrational, highly intuitive, and rely heavily on our feelings. We are driven by our personal value system and strive to understand the human condition. Peace is something we uphold (thus the conflict-hating), until something we value is violated, then we can be aggressive defenders, spilling blood with passion. We may seem distant and shy on the outside, but on the inside, there is a constant battle on a scale only found in great epic fantasies. Everything is about good and evil. We are the imaginatives, the idealist of all idealists, the truth seekers, purpose finders, and meaning hunters. They say we are also genuinely compassionate, naturally creative, and deeply affectionate (if not openly expressive). We are authentic, loyal, and sincere, making us treasured confidantes. I find that hard to believe. Study also says we are hard on ourselves and suffer from low self-esteem. Figures. Oh, and we’re also disorganized, easily disappointed and dissatisfied, and prone to suicide. It comes from having (absurdly) high expectations, reality not conforming to our version of the ideal.
Not that I’m suicidal, but I have a great need to sort myself out in order to make sense of my being. Why am I like this? Why is daydreaming my favorite past time? Why am I overly sentimental that observing my sentimentality makes me gag? Is it so wrong to go to the movies alone? Why is it a struggle to finish something I’ve started? Why are huge social gatherings draining and suffocating? I’m basically useless with small talks, and don’t even mention going on stage in front of prying eyes. I dread those situations. Dread, not fear. What the hell is wrong with me?
Nothing is more necessary yet fretful a feat than understanding one’s self (for me at least). That is why learning I am an INFP became one of the great discoveries of my life sir. No, there’s nothing wrong with me. Same way that there’s nothing wrong with Princess Diana, Shakespeare, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, or John the Beloved, all of whom are INFPs. To tell you the truth, I felt ecstatic when I learned that most great writers share my type. I know I shouldn’t use my personality as an excuse for my limitations. But it’s good to know my why I am what I am. Pretty sure His Majesty intended to wire me this way. I like Him more for it. Sure there’s a laundry list about myself that I’m not partial to, but that’s my fault, not anyone else’s. Anyway, I’m really glad His Majesty wired me this way. I should come to Him more often if I want to find out the particulars and wholeness of my being. Besides it’s not my personality that I’m worried. It’s my character. I know His Majesty minds my character more than the personality. We’ll have to keep working on that one.
Truth be told, deep inside I really don’t mind being teased. But what I fear is my tendency to hold grudges, that’s where character kicks in, and I hope it’s the right one. Besides, Rafa’s in Abu Dhabi this December. If all goes well, we’ll be in the same room, breathing the same air by then. Excited much.