Sunday, October 30, 2016

Who Am I?

I've come to learn that your twenties are supposedly some of the most defining years of your life. Online, there are a litany of articles on the subject: 10 things You Learn in Your 20s, 20 Harsh Life Lessons Everyone Should Learn in Their 20s, How You Should Spend Your Twenties. The list goes on. On the cusp of entering this elusive (and quite frankly daunting) century of my life, I remember thinking that it couldn't possibly be all that dramatic. What is it about your twenties anyway that suddenly sees someone undergo such a rapid shift in self, a change in how we see the world and approach where we stand?

Of course, a lot of it has to do with the fact that, around this period, many of us finish higher education and enter the workforce. Many of us also move out, travel, form relationships, begin families even. There are certain expectations that are sometimes hard to swallow. As someone who is determined to kick start a career but is still trying hard to get my foot in the door, the first two years in my 20s, which saw my studies wind down, have been rife with stress. But I expected as such. I expected to experience some change within myself that comes with these kinds of life events: what I want to do and how I need to go about doing it.

What I never anticipated, however, was a complete change in my personality type, which I guess, now that I think about it more, isn't strange or surprising. I first took a personality test, based on the Meyer Briggs Type Indicator, when I was 18-19. In fact, I took it a number of times over the course of a year. Each and every time, I got the result INFJ: Advocate. Up until last month, I hadn't taken the test for a while. But when I did, I was surprised to see that my result changed to ENFJ: The Protagonist. Thinking this may have been a one off mistake, I took the test a few weeks later, again with ENFJ as the result. Finally, I took it a third time and once more got ENFJ. On reflection, I realised that the past year has seen me come out of my shell more but also discover that I struggle with some things that I never quite noticed before. INFJ and ENFJ do share some characteristics, but what surprised me most about the strengths of my *new* personality type was my apparent 'natural leadership' skills. The ENFJ weakness of 'fluctuating self-esteem' particularly hit home, and has helped me realise that I truly need to work on being kinder to myself.

I find it fascinating that I continue to learn more about myself everyday during this new stage in my life. It's almost refreshing to know that I will continue to change. The INFJ result from my Meyer Briggs test was just as accurate one to two years ago than the ENFJ result that I got recently and it's all due to circumstances which have shaped who I am today. While initially confused by the change, it would be silly to say such a thing is out of question. I'm a little bit skeptical about prescribing total faith in personality tests as being the be all and end all of who you were, are or ever will be, but they are nonetheless useful and interesting tools for reflection.

What do you think? I would love to know your opinion and experiences!

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