I love personality tests: Answering a string of questions about myself and getting results that tell me something (usually positive) about who I am at my core has always felt affirming.
Whether you enjoy personality tests, or just consider them a waste of time, I’m not going to dwell long on test results, but rather on what to DO with the results and/or self-knowledge you have (apart from basking in the warm glow of a new label!)
KNOWLEDGE vs REGULATION
I recently learned through the life coaching is an amazing woman (see my recent post on My Life in Red), that it’s one thing to know yourself, and quite another to regulate yourself in light of that knowledge. Many people “know” themselves and far fewer “regulate.” This is definitely true in my case.
I created a small five-point list of things that are super important to me, based on what I’ve learned over the years from my plethora of personality test results:
KEY ELEMENTS (of me)
■· Creating beauty ■· Meaningful social interaction ■· Self-expression ■· Sharing wisdom ■· Receiving/witnessing beauty
I can boil everything I love down to these categories. These are what I crave, what energize me, what make me excited to get up and go in the morning. The Key Elements are the “knowing” process of the puzzle. The “regulating” part is harder. It is where I take the knowledge and apply it to my life.
Huge caveat before I continue – although I believe in listening to my desires, I’m not so hedonistic as to think the sheer entirety of life should be devoted to pursuit of pleasure. There are some things that must be done simply because they are good and right, regardless of how I feel about the time at the time.
But, since God created me with unique dreams and delights, it’s also good, wise, and responsible of me to put myself in places where I can experience them because the more fulfilled I am through activities and influences that I love, the more alive, aware, creative, and healthy I am. I’m responsible for making these choices—this is the beginning of regulation.
To give a practical example, one of the first steps is to start weeding/adjusting activities and commitments that aren’t aligning well with my Key Elements.
One such activity of mine is volunteering once a month at a clothing bank for single mothers. This clothing bank is swimming donations but really needs help sorting the clothes into piles so that they can be easily displayed by category.
Several volunteers meet in a gym and sort clothes for an hour and a half on a Saturday morning. There’s nothing particularly beautiful about the activity, but this doesn’t give me the right to be a snobby artist and say, “I’m just not inspired by the setting.”
But, if I feel I’m supposed to be volunteering here, I can actively bring in more of my Key Elements. For example – I love meaningful interactions with people. Thus, I can make a point to connect via conversation with some of the other volunteers. I will feel more fulfilled because the action align me with what I know I love to do, and I will become a better volunteer and happier person because if I’m making the activity more suited to my nature.
This applies to housework, social engagements, jobs, free-time activities, you name it.
Knowing what I love and then re-arranging my life piece-by-piece to align better with those Key Elements is a lot of work and a lot of thinking, and…already I’m feeling more delight and freedom because of it.