Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ever take one of those personality tests? I’ve always been the same every time I took one growing up…until recently. I guess I knew that personalities can change; I just didn’t realize it had happened to me. I had some suspicions about these changes, so the other week, I decided to take a bunch of the free online tests. I’m too cheap to pony up the money for an unnecessary psychological test, but most of the stuff I read said these are fairly accurate, and if you take enough of them, you are likely to get a pretty clear consensus.

That’s precisely what happened. Out of twenty tests, 18 were the same. Introverted. Intuitive. Feelings-Oriented. Perceptive. (For the record, the last three didn’t change at all in any of the tests.)

Introverted? When did that happen??

I’ve always considered myself extroverted. My husband laughed when I said this is how the tests came out, but when we fleshed it out a bit, I think he understood it as well. While I had suspicions that I was becoming much more introverted, it was disconcerting to see it spelled out in test after test after test. Now, mind you, I haven’t turned into a hermit who has a panic attack when she’s with more than 5 people at a time. I don’t cry if I have to go into a crowd. The tests were about evenly split between ‘slight’ introvert and ‘moderate’ introvert.

Truth is, introversion doesn’t mean that you only want to be alone all the time. In my case, it really means that I need much more alone time than social time. I’m sure part of this is living with so many people in such a small space. Truly alone time is hard to come by. Another important factor is that I cannot remember the last day when I had no scheduled activity or event. I expect this will get better without a current foster placement, but I looked back through my calendar and literally cannot find a single day since last summer that I had nothing on the calendar. The fact is that right now I need to be alone to recharge. Being in public, at parties, with people all the time drains me dry. I need to recuperate and recover, and I need to do it by myself.

There is just something about learning this kind of thing about yourself, like I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. I’ve been berating myself privately for my change in personality. I had in my head that I was a certain kind of person, and when I was finding it increasingly painful and uncomfortable to be that kind of person, I felt like I was doing something wrong. Just learning about this a little more – that it’s ok and normal for personalities to change, that I’m not crazy or clinically depressed or doing something wrong – it’s been extremely freeing. I actually feel like I can say no to meetings without feeling guilty, like it’s ok to prefer a book to a party, like I don’t have to continually monitor myself to determine whether or not I need medication. Part of me wonders if I was really this personality all along but was just so uncomfortable with solitude and who I was that I forced myself into a different category. What I’ve learned this winter is that I can be happy with who I have become. I may not be this way forever, but it is who I am right now, and I feel like I’m starting to make peace with that fact.



*I had scheduled this post a couple weeks ago, and then last week, my facebook feed filled up with introvert memes. Coincidence??

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