Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I'm Not Your Type

Recently, I went to a restorative yoga class. I've wanted to go for a long time but never did because a) they cost money and at-home yoga is free and b) Sitting still is hard for me. I meditate for about 20 minutes; then, I'm done. I can hold a pose for about 5 breaths; then, I have to move. It's outside my comfort zone. But, I'm always preaching at myself to step outside my comfort zone, so I went. It was amazing, and I'm so glad I went, but this isn't about stepping outside your comfort zone.

Actually, this is about knowing that sometimes, it's okay to stay in it.

What? Hell, you say. Life BEGINS at the end of your comfort zone! Nothing great ever happened in a comfort zone! The magic happens when you step OUT of your comfort zone. I know. I've read the quotes. I believe them too. Sometimes.

On the other hand, I am very comfortable with a lot of things about myself: I don't run, spin, funnel beer, bungee jump, knit, do crossfit, drive go-carts, ski ... off the top of my head. I've tried some of those things and don't enjoy them. Others, I know without trying, will hold no joy for me. No thank you, I don't wanna. No amount of peer pressuring or encouraging or shaming will sway my resolve. I know myself. Please, by all means, run, spin, funnel beer, bungee jump, knit, do crossfit, drive go-carts, and ski until your hearts are content. Enjoy! I am thrilled not to be joining you.

This has come up many times for me, but most recently as I've been reading several books about personality types. I've written about this before because it fascinates me. My husband and kids have all been "typed," and I often encourage people I know to take the tests as well so I can know them better via their types.

As I was listening to Anne Bogel*'s new book Reading People, a point she made really resonated with me. For personality assessments to work, people need to answer honestly. Seems like a no-brainer. However, when some people take these tests, their answers reflect who they aspire to be rather than who they actually are. Makes sense, right? If you answer questions with the reaction you'd hope to have rather than the reaction you'd actually have, your result will indicate who you want to be instead of who you actually are.

Circling back to comfort zones and stepping out of and staying in them, sometimes, I'm too quick to try to stretch outside my comfort zone. I'm an INFJ and a highly sensitive person, so if I put myself in a position of having too much interaction or stimulation, I will be M I S E R A B L E. People rely on me and need me not to be miserable. One of those people, my Lily bear, is also highly sensitive person but a capital E extrovert. I'm sensitive to noises; she's sensitive to lines in her socks. I need quiet, she crawls out of her skin without noise. I prefer relaxing in the same room together reading separate books and not talking; she prefers watching and discussing reality tv while eating skittles and playing on our phones.

It's conflict in the making, but we manage to work it out. It can't always be loud and it can't always be quiet. Knowing yourself better allows you to make better choices to take care of your own sanity. Sometimes we watch tv; sometimes we read.

Such is life, and love, and family...choosing when to step out, when to stay in, and dealing with the consequences of our choice. Sticking with those that bring joy, and adjusting to make better ones the next time. Sometimes, it's super important to step outside your comfort zone. And sometimes the only thing you find outside of your comfort zone is discomfort. It's wonderful to want to improve yourself, but it's also wonderful to be okay with who you already are.

Everything in moderation...even moderation. -Oscar Wilde
If you love personality tests, please let me know! I would love to talk about it with you!

xoxo

*Anne is Modern Mrs. Darcy and also hosts the wonderful podcast "What Should I Read Next?"

2 comments:

  1. Yes,honesty is essential to growth! Think I'll take a personality test. The older I get the quieter I like it. Something wonderful about hearing nothing. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks, mama! Please do. I would love to talk more about personality types.

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