• Jo Rust

You Are Not Your Personality Type

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "I call BS". Right?

I get it. It sounds like a scam. Or maybe it sounds like denial? Or maybe reading this title immediately has your opinion jumping to "What a crock of shit"!

But before I share my thinking and findings with you, let's back up a bit.

First: Let's define 'personality'. Your personality is what makes you unique. It's how you process thoughts and emotions and react to and behave, in relation to your environment, all wrapped up in, and expressed by the shell that is your physical body.

Now, depending on which system you subscribe to; either the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator's 16 Types or the Jungian Personality Theory's 8 Types, there are a certain number of personality types and psychological functions.

Myers-Briggs 16 Personality Types

You can take a free online test to discover your personality type

Here's a second one you can try as well for comparison

ISTJ - The Inspector

INFJ - The Counselor (I'm an INFJ-A. Pretty spot on)

INTJ - The Mastermind

ENFJ - The Giver

ISTP - The Craftsman

ESFJ - The Provider

INFP - The Idealist

ESFP - The Performer

ENFP - The Champion

ESTP - The Doer

ESTJ - The Supervisor

ENTJ - The Commander

INTP - The Thinker

ISFJ - The Nurturer

ENTP - The Visionary

ISFP - The Composer

We can then go one step further and divide the 16 Personality Types into 4 different categories:









Jung's 8 Personality Types & 4 Functions

You can take a free online test to discover your personality type

The work of Isabel Briggs-Myers and her mother Katherin Briggs is based on the earlier work of well-known Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung. He is the founder of analytic psychology and an early supporter of Sigmund Freud's.

Although he collaborated with Freud on the topic of the unconscious mind, he disagreed with him about the sexual basis of neuroses.



Jung's work proposed 8 different personality types consisting of:

Extroverted Thinking

Introverted Thinking

Extroverted Feeling

Introverted Feeling

Extroverted Sensation

Introverted Sensation

Extroverted Intuition

Introverted Intuition

And the 4 types: Thinking, Feeling, Sensation and iNtuition, then gave us Judging and Perceiving, as per the diagram above.

Sensation + iNtuition = Perceiving

Feeling + Thinking = Judging

And herewith, the 6 types that make up the different personality types.

Lastly, all 16 personality types are also classified as either a type A or type J.

A = Assertive

T - Turbulent

And now we get to the really good stuff - changing your personality to change your personal reality

It used to be a steadfast belief that our personality is something we are born with as an individual. Something we will live with for the rest of our lives and that can never be changed. Turns out that's not entirely true. Although our base personality types remains the same, we can (and should) change aspects of our personality that we are not entirely happy with. I take myself as an example: For the first 25 years of my life, I would've identified myself as an introvert to the nth degree. Now, nearing entering the 4th decade of my life, I am more an omnivert than either an introvert. I acquired tools and learned skills on how to control my social anxiety, which in turn has made me more comfortable with social interaction. Though I still need to recharge like an introvert after being social. The more you hold on to the idea that you cannot change aspects of your personality, the more you withhold yourself from true personal growth. Growth can only be brought about through change. It cannot take place in a stagnant state. A plant grows by changing from a seed into a flower or a bush or a tree. If it chose to remain a seed, nothing would ever come of it. I used to be more comfortable with thinking, rationality, hard facts. Mainly because I used to be uncomfortable with processing and regulating my emotions. Purely because I was never taught how. Where now, I'm far more conscious of my emotions and how to process them in a more healthy way. When you change aspects of your personality, you change how you perceive the world around you. When you climb out of your box, you are suddenly able to see more possibilities around you. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with your personality. You might indeed carry some of your personality type traits with you all your life. And knowing your personality type can most definitely help you be more aware as an individual. But being aware of your personality traits can help you influence (and even change) those traits to experience life in different ways. You don't have to hold on to being an introvert just because you grew up as one. You can develop social skills and anxiety coping techniques to help you climb out of your shell once in a while and open yourself up to experiences you might not have been open to before. Opening yourself up to change and growth, instead of holding on to a personality type, is the only way to experience change. And growth.

How Do You Change Aspects Of Your Personality?

We all know the old debate between Nature vs Nurture. For so long philosophers, psychologists and doctors took a one vs the other approach. Though this debate has finally been put to bed and it turns out that Nurture trumps Nature. The environment in which you are brought up plays a far greater role in shaping your personality than your genetics do. Plus Epigenetics shows us that we can influence how our genes behave through changes in our behaviour and environment. So - you are not a slave to your biology. But how do you bring about change? Changing your habitual responses over time is one way of creating personality change. It's all about what you allow yourself to focus on, and what you do consistently. (Habits) Here are some exercises you can try out to bring about change. If you want to be less introverted and more extroverted:

  • Before going to bed, reflect on a positive social experience you had during the day and what you liked about it.

  • Greet the cashier and ask them how they are as you're checking out your shopping.

  • Ask a stranger what they do for a living?

  • Greet a stranger and pay them a compliment. (Ex. I just wanted to say that I love your shoes)

  • Call a friend you haven't spoken to in a long time.

  • Sign up as a volunteer for your preferred charity.

  • Join a club. Ex. hiking club, card game club, book reading club etc.

  • When someone asks for your opinion (Ex. what do you feel like eating?), give an honest answer.

  • Open up and tell a close friend about a problem you are experiencing.

If you want to be less neurotic:

  • Repeat some positive affirmations when you wake up. (Ex. I choose to be positive today)

  • Practice mindfulness when you're feeling overwhelmed.

  • Before you go to bed, write down 3 things you are grateful for and 1 positive thing that happened to you during the day. Also, write down how it made you feel.

  • Express sincere gratitude to another person.

  • Pray or meditate on a daily basis.

  • When you are having a negative thought, acknowledge it, then think of 3 positive counterpoints about the same topic.

  • Identify someone who has hurt you in the past and chose to forgive them and let them go.

  • When you feel stressed or like you don't have the confidence to complete a task, think of an instance in the past where you successfully completed a similar task.

Thank you for your time and for reading this article until the end. I hope you have found it to be useful. For those who might be interested, I'm currently running a 50% OFF special on Individual Online Mental Health Coaching. You can visit the link below for more information and book a session. Special valid until 31 August. Sessions are 45 min - 60 min. Hosted on Zoom.

Cost: R250 / US$17

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