Lauren has discovered something.
And now questions everything she thought she knew about herself since the turn of the century.
It was called the Myers-Briggs test, and I came across it because of an article about the rarest type within that system.
I’ve always loved personality tests!
I usually have one every year, that uncovers a layer of myself that I was previously totally unaware of, or didn’t know how to label.
Like a thing that you know is, for lack of a better expression “fucking things up”, but you can’t put your finger on it.
Or something that you love doing, but that you don’t give enough time or significance because you don’t understand the rationale (or emotional connection) behind it.
You don’t understand the Why.
How an aspect of you fits into the whole.
So when this Myers Briggs test was mentioned, I was immediately interested. It had 16 personality types and you were going to be just one!
Awesome. I’m always so bogged down by systems that start with “everybody is a bit of everything”, and dual types and all.
I understand it, but it just doesn’t satisfy me.
I took the test, and after filling out all questions a hundred percent truthful and without any hesitation, I was labeled a “Campaigner”.
And had my biggest WTF moment of the year.
Because the Campaigner’s most striking characteristic was that they loved being in groups.
I hate groups!
I consider it the number one reason it was a good thing I quit teaching yoga. I m currently in the process of closing my yoga business, and refinding myself. Shaking off any residue behavior or personality traits, which I adopted in my fifteen years of teaching yoga.
But becoming an extrovert, who loves to be around people?
That is so not me, that I don’t know where to begin.
So initially I ignored this aspect of the test-results. Until I noticed something peculiar.. Almost every day, from different sources, I get the advice to not go on Facebook in the morning. To turn off notifications when writing. And to just in general be very moderate in my use of social media.
And I understand that.
And I follow that advice, or at least have the intention to follow it, always.
But I never do, or never longer than a day.
Instead, I find myself opening up new tabs while writing. In a way someone else would open the window to let the fresh air in.
And yet once I get into the flow, I m so concentrated they could set off a bomb next to me and I wouldn’t notice.
For me (a hermit who is alone twenty hours a day) my phone and social media are not overwhelming at all. They’re a candy store.
An Alice in Wonderland type of situation and I do know how to climb back up the rabbit hole anytime I want to.
Feeling totally rejuvenated and inspired.
And it was somewhere when connecting the two together – the test results and my joyful use of social media – that I realized that social media too, are of course groups. I’m comfortable there, they even light me up.
And yet I pass on practically all real life invitations, obligations, and opportunities that involve me being around others.
That’s when I saw that the problem with teaching yoga, had indeed not been the group thing. Nor was the problem with me engaging in real life social activities that I didn’t like “them”.
The problem was; I didn’t like me.
Not in that setting.
Being a yoga teacher felt contracting, with little space to be myself. I felt I was being paid to leave my entire personality at the door.
And on top of that I could feel everybody’s sensitivities.
Or what they wanted out of a class, or from me.
I was having a hard time, trying to teach a class that would be satisfactory to everybody. And didn’t see a way to squeeze my true self in there.
And when I did, I immediately felt too loud, and highly self-aware. I got negative feedback, when I did write what I really thought, or spoke my mind.
And that’s when I started getting stuck and must have internalized the people pleasing approach I had in yoga class. By now I was convinced the real me was indeed not okay.
I started becoming weary not to step on any toes. Not just in class, but in all other social occasions too.
I was aware at which birthday parties, people felt insecure if I was too loud.
Which colleagues felt uneasy hearing my views about our work.
The sensitivities of my friends.
I would tiptoe around all of it.
Highly aware that every idea and any opinion, could trigger anything in anybody.
And it was driving me crazy.
Since being with others was obviously draining me, I started identifying with being an introvert; I simply didn’t get any energy out of being social.
And I found solace in seeing only one person at a time.
One family member even, preferably.
Until it hit me that my love for social media, and blogging, and even me referring to my Inbox as “filled with gems”, were all pointing in the same extrovert direction.
And that my dislike for teaching yoga had never been because I didn’t like groups but because I disliked just that: being a Yoga Teacher.
I could have revolutionized yoga and turned it into something that didn’t require me to be some Tiny Tim version of myself.
But it was already too late.
Teaching Yoga was no longer my passion; My passion was writing.
Yoga was, or had become, just a way to pay the bills. And now that it wasn’t doing that anymore, it was time for yoga to go.
But I needed this personality test to see that it was never the group aspect, that I didn’t like.
That it was not showing my true self, that had sucked the life out of me. And that was on a steady course to seep into and poison all my relationships.
Glimpses of who I had been, before I became a yoga teacher, came back to me. How I had been completely comfortable in class, in high school and at University. Or on stage, providing I could be myself.
In my twenties and with the perspective of a real job, it turned around. I started assuming I would have to play some professional version of myself.
And other people in the form of employers started scaring me.
Fled the academic job, but landed straight into being a yoga teacher.
Initially I felt the relief of not having a boss and a normal job anymore. Unlike my peers I was free, and no longer part of the corporate world.
But in hindsight, being a yoga teacher turned out to be just as limiting and contracting as being a professional.
I agree with the test now.
Campaigner; an extrovert who enjoys social and emotional connections with others, and is always looking for deeper meaning.
After twenty years, I no longer have to shy away from myself, nor from other people.
And I never have to leave something at the door, ever again.
An unexamined life is not worth living
Curious which personality type you are? You can take the test here.
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