For 15 years I was a yoga teacher, and if I set aside all the insights of the past couple of months, on why yoga was possibly one of the most harmful career paths for me personally?
I see the strongest reason was the one I came up with the first:
Because if I have a place in this world, if I have a connection to others (if!);
Then it is to wake people up.
Not to calm anyone down or put them to sleep.
I already had this insight when I was still teaching yoga but since I got paid to teach yoga, I never bothered my students with my urge to shake them up. I felt they deserved a yoga lesson. Not a sermon.
But having said that, I did interpret my job as superficial and considered at least part of my pay to be hush money.
I never had that with private classes – it was only teaching groups where I felt I could only scratch the surface and possibly not even that.
But after taking a personality test which is called Meyers-Briggs, I started to get a slightly different take on things:
The test revealed I was an ENFP: the E stands for Extrovert.
Initially I was appalled. Me? And extrovert? Then why do I hate groups?
But then this identity started seeping into the way I viewed myself. That the hush money (in the groups) was paid to shut up my flamboyant personality.
The problem had not been the superficiality of yoga, but me being an extrovert.
And in yoga (at least in the Netherlands) extroversion was shamed upon.
It would have been fine if I had been teaching tango.
So basically, after the extrovert diagnosis, I concluded I (as an extrovert) had simply been in the wrong line of work.
And this opened up tons of possibilities!
Suddenly I saw being an extrovert as a sign I would be able to have a normal job, without wanting to kill myself. Which could come in handy if my writing business didn’t take off!
I did skillfully ignore the knot in my stomach when thinking about being available, present, or even near other people for an entire workday.
It sounded so terribly exhausting.
But hey! Meyers-Briggs said I was an extrovert so it was all a matter of just giving myself permission to be my own radiant self, right?!
But yesterday I took another Meyers-Briggs test but now designed by YouTuber Eric Thor, and this one said something else: I am not an ENFP at all.
I am an INFP.
An introvert, instead of extrovert.
Exactly the way I had been seeing myself for years.
When I received the first ENFP result, a few months back, I initially ignored the E. I thought the extrovert part of their typing couldn’t be right because I obviously hated groups, and was happiest being left alone.
It wasn’t until I started studying the character of the ENFP in depth, that I could see how me hating groups had so much to do with the feeling I was under 24/7 hush money.
Symbolically, because aside from yoga no one paid me.
But I felt like my whole adult life, I had been under bribe of being accepted socially, as long as I kept my opinions to myself. No wonder I “missed” I was an extrovert. I simply didn’t know how to hold myself in public.
Fully identifying as an extrovert, I made it my job to refind my mojo, and start rocking my extroversion. I made plans that involved speaking in public, and getting jobs in the real word to finance my art.
But guess what? Secretly I hated it.
No matter how many times I was told I (as an ENFP) would be so great working in such and such environment, I still saw it as ultimately fatal.
Yes, if my surroundings were ideal, I would last longer. Probably eighteen months tops.
Yet still I didn’t doubt the E/extrovert result of the test, but I should have. Because seeing yourself doing an ideal ENFP job for eighteen months tops?
That sounds like mistyping.
Because here’s the truth:
For me, every interaction with the real world – but especially the ones prior to spending a full workday behind my desk – on an emotional level these interactions start like this:
“THIS BETTER BE FUCKING WORTH IT BECAUSE I COULD BE BEHIND MY DESK BY MYSELF RIGHT NOW! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!”
That doesn’t really sound like an extrovert, happy to see someone else, now does it?
Don’t get me wrong, I m pretty well behaved. At least considering the powerful emotions beneath the surface. So everybody who comes into contact with me for surface based stuff, will know me as a cooperative, loving empath.
And I am.
But only because I consider it a matter of pride to make social interactions as pleasant as possible. But it comes at this huge cost of wasting valuable resources such as any waking minute of my life.
Taking the first Meyers-Briggs test, which diagnosed me an extrovert, may have sparked my enthusiasm to go out there into the world. But the reason I jumped on being an extrovert was because it would solve my need for a steady source of income.
I can see that now.
I was desperate to be saved.
I wanted to hear I d be okay in case I don’t make it as an entrepreneur only selling books, and only doing my PR blogging, and YouTube.
(I will be picking YouTube up!)
If I fail to make money from that, I will have to become successful as a public speaker, and if that doesn’t work I will have to take a normal job.
Both things where being an extrovert would come in handy!
Being an ENFP seemed to come with its own build-in Plan B, and an ENFP would always land on their feet.
What a comforting thought.
And it all held up until Eric Thor’s test came along and I tested an introvert. The mist disappeared, everything became clear and a huge WHAT WAS I THINKING? emerged in the bright blue sky.
My extrovert-not-extrovert-at-all public persona would have had a life expectancy of eighteen months tops before she blew herself up.
A few days ago, a friend asked me a really good question:
Wasn’t I secretly using the whole money making part, to not show up as a leader and a messenger?
But after taking Eric Thor’s test I knew:
I really am, honest to God, NOT a leader nor a messenger. Because this title implies that my job, my validation, lies in the outside world.
When I am all about the inner world.
I only exist, in the inner world.
My Alice in Wonderland is not inside of myself; It is when I open the front door and go out into the real world. That’s when I meet the strange, the cruel, the riddles and the unfairness of it all.
But there’s also a strong sense that it is not my world.
I don’t belong there. I m Alice (as in “LS”Harteveld!), I need to get back.
So after all these strong emotions and thoughts, and yesterday (another Monday) totally wasted on writing stuff I didn’t publish and on not working on my books; Wasted waiting for people or things, and getting worked up about the final parts of renovation mayhem;
And yet the sense I had to start making money from my art, from behind my desk, more than anything! Because if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be able to AFFORD to keep writing.
All those thoughts on a Monday shot to pieces by lack of planning, lack of focus.
Yet none of those thoughts was:
I need to help people.
None of the thoughts (and there were many!) was:
I want to lead, connect, create a community.
I thought, I KNEW, the outside world doesn’t have anything to do with it. My battles are internal ones. I need to find a way to publish those books. I need to find a way to keep writing, even when I m not making any money.
I need to find a way to run a business, even though my loyalty lies with myself and with what’s above.
But this life, this fight, this despair; It is between God and me.
This is not about how much money I make, or how old I will get. It is not about how many books I sell, or how few. It’s not about if I m an extrovert or an introvert.
This really is between God and me.
And if God put me on this earth with the talent to go within and then write for hours on end, then it is my job to go within and to write for hours on end.
And if I was put on this earth to publish those four new books, then those will be published in the upcoming months.
But Jesus wasn’t saved, Vincent van Gogh wasn’t saved. Not in the sense that their lives got better as a reward for holding the course, or that they received validation or money for their work.
But they did what they came here to do.
And maybe that really is the only salvation there is.
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living
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This is between God and me is Chapter 30 of my diary 7-figure Rock Star Writer
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