One of the great challenges for many people is to find out who they are, so that they can find their path through life. There are several psychological profile tests that claim to give a quick answer. One popular tool is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (or MBTI) which states there are four pairs of oposing personality preferences --Introvert/Extrovert, Sensing/iNtuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving—- that can be combined to form 16 basic personality types, such as ESTP, ISFJ, etc. By answering a series of questions, you then figure out “your personality type.”
Very often, the results are a remarkable match (but not always!), and at times people start to associate themselves strongly with “their type.” For example, “Oh, finally, I know who I am, an ENTP!”
Recently, somebody asked me this question: “I just took the Myers-Briggs test and it came out to be a (fill in your type). This helped me tremendously. But is it a liability or a benefit?”
This seems to indicate that some types are “better” than others. But that is certainly not true. Let me expand on this.
First of all: You are who you are--you can't change that! What many people have to learn is to accept themselves, and not fight it. You naturally will have certain strengths, which the test may point out, and out of these you can weave a great and fulfilling life that has meaning for you. Once you accept yourself, you will use your natural strengths much more successfully.
The MBTI is a specific tool that can help some people find out about themselves. But as far as being one of the sixteen types in the most absolute terms, that is not true. The test can only give a result that has certain statistical preferences; you may find that you match many descriptions, but not all. I always wonder how a human psyche, which can be virtually infinitly complex, can be categorized by sixteen types? When I meet various people of a certain “type,” there are commonalities but at the same time there are uncountable variations.
“I am a (fill in your type)” can never define all that you are. There is a lot more to you.
While a personality type may be a good initial start to learn about your strengths, you should only treat it as a springboard and keep exploring from there. All people of one type may share certain traits, but you are also an individual (literally: in-divisible) and you have to find your own path to your wholeness.
The first step in all of this is self-acceptance.