Introverted or extroverted? Or maybe both? Sometimes our personalities can seem like a contradiction. Today we are talking about believing who we truly are.
I love personality tests. I find them incredibly fascinating, and often I find them to be accurate. I’m one of those who takes all the personality quizzes on Facebook, but then never shares what I got, because, really, I take all of them, and then you would just find me weird. I want to know what Disney princess I am, but I don’t want you to know!
An example of the accuracy of these Facebook personality quizzes, is the one about your political leanings. I had heard before about how our personalities will determine whether we are liberal or conservative, and this was my opportunity to see how accurate this theory was. It asked a series of questions that had absolutely nothing to do with politics. And whaddaya know? It had me pegged. It said I was a Republican. By 51 percent. Which means I am 49 percent Democrat. I have said in the past that I have a well-rounded political view because I was raised by a Democrat and married a Republican. Turns out, it’s just who I am.
This is frustrating for me though. I feel like I can never take a side on anything. When I listen to one person’s opinion, I completely understand and agree. But then, when I hear an opposing opinion, I completely understand and agree. And this isn’t with just politics, I’m finding this to be true with how I eat even! I hear one person’s explanation of why they eat a paleo diet, and I’m all onboard. Then I watch a documentary on the meat and dairy industry, and I’m ready to go vegan. Ugh! I just feel so torn!
What does this mean for me? Will I never have a strong opinion? Well, if you know me, you know this isn’t the case. What it means is that I am a good moderator. I see both sides of an issue, and can see the beauty of how the two sides can strengthen each other if they are willing. It means I was created this way for a purpose.
Feeling like a contradiction…
This past week I was listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley about the importance of being known. There were a couple statements he made which stuck out to me, and that I had to “chew” on for a bit.
The first was:
If we are always working on our image, then we are imaginary.
And the second was:
If we are afraid to be ourselves because people may not like us, then nobody likes us because they don’t know us.
This struck me because I feel like I am often putting on a good face, or having to act a certain way. I had to ask myself if the person people saw was real or imaginary. The answer is that I am all of it. What I want people to see may not be what I am actually feeling in that moment, but it doesn’t mean that I am not that person. I can be both kind and nasty. I can be both generous and greedy. I can be both confident and insecure.
When my husband and I met, I was in a very good place in my life. I was confident and secure, and this was attractive to him. I believe, however, that if he had met me a year prior, he would not have wanted anything to do with me. After some time into our marriage, some of those insecurities had crept back into my thoughts, and I felt guilty. I felt like I had been an imposter, an imaginary version of myself. I felt like I had tricked him. But this, dear friends, was a lie that I chose not to believe or hold on to.
The real me is kind, and generous, and confident. The nasty, greedy, insecure me is the imposter. I was confident when my husband and I met because I was walking closely with my Lord. Jesus brings out the best in us. He allows our true selves to shine, because it is him shining through us.
Now, there are some parts of my personality that are just complicated. I’m the baby of the family, so I crave attention. But there is almost 5 years between myself and my brother, which means I can sometimes act like an only child and need controlled order. I love having people around, but I don’t want to share. I like to plan, and then rebel against my own plans. Some days I want to be surrounded by a bunch of people who I don’t know really well. Other days I want to have deep conversation with a close friend. And then there are days where I just long to sit alone for hours.
I’m an extroverted introvert.
I took a quiz for that.
What does this mean for you? Do you feel like you are being torn? What parts of your personality are a contradiction?
PS. Earlier when I was talking about about being the baby of the family, but acting like an only child, I was referring to a book I read a few years ago called The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are, by Dr. Kevin Leman. It was incredibly insightful, and I highly recommend it.
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