By Bethany Turner
Have you ever taken a Myers-Briggs personality test? (If not, the one at 16personalities.com is my personal favorite.) So, you know the thing with these tests. You answer a lot of questions about yourself and your preferences and tendencies, and how you handle certain situations. And if you answer honestly (and that means you answer as the person you are and not the person you wish you were), the results can be somewhat eye opening.
I’ll tell you right now…I’m ENFJ. Also known as The Protagonist. Cool, right? I mean, as an author, could I possibly be happier with any personality type than I am with The Protagonist? And just like in a novel, being The Protagonist carries with it all sorts of awesomeness. For instance, did you know that I’m a genuine, caring person? A natural leader? Full of passion and charisma? Yep. That’s what the results say. We can’t argue. It’s science.
Of course, the results also say that I can tend to be too selfless, and sometimes overly idealistic.
Okay, being The Protagonist rocks. Seriously. I mean, even my flaws are awesome! You guys, I’m basically the lead character of a Hallmark movie. Just send me back to my hometown so I can help my elderly aunt run her bakery (probably called “Sweet Somethings”), which I, of course, am determined to help finally turn a profit by bringing her delicious cupcakes into the 21st century with an aggressive social media campaign. Look at me! Genuine. Caring. A natural leader, full of passion and charisma. Too selfless! Overly idealistic! All the perfect characteristics to attract either a) my high school sweetheart, or b) the studly-but-cranky banker (probably named Thad, or something) who is threatening to foreclose on the bakery. But he has a heart of gold. And I’m THE PROTAGONIST! It will all be fine.
Oh, hold up. What’s this? Fluctuating self-esteem? Difficulty making tough decisions?
What the what?
Well, I’ll never save Aunt Eileen’s business and successfully launch @SweetSomethings4U on Instagram if I have difficulty making tough decisions. And I’ve got to get Thad to understand that the heart of an old lady is more valuable than that offer from the billionaire real estate developer. How will I ever do that with fluctuating self-esteem?
These are the thoughts that go through my head whenever I take one of these tests. They come in eight stages.
- Yep. That’s fairly accurate.
- Well, would you look at me? I’ve got some pretty fantastic traits.
- They’re right. I AM going to be President someday!
- Oh, wait. Click here for Strengths and Weaknesses. Weaknesses? I don’t understand. Do they mean my lack of upper body strength? Because I’m totally planning on getting a private trainer for the White House.
- That doesn’t apply to me.
- Does that apply to me?
- It does apply to me! That is all totally me! I’m the worst!
- Maybe I should take it again.
Ahem. Can you say fluctuating self-esteem?
So why do I do it to myself? Why do I go back to those tests, time and time again, and subject myself to the undoubtedly uncomfortable introspection? Well, because knowledge is power, I suppose. It’s not as if knowing that I am ENFJ is what makes me ENFJ. Oh no. I assure you, I was ENFJ long before I ever took one of those tests. But when I take the tests, I begin to understand myself a little better. I begin to understand how my family and friends see me, and some of their comments and observations begin to make sense. And sometimes, I begin to understand that I’m harder on myself than anyone else would ever be.
And I begin to understand that I’m not a freak for having the weaknesses I have. I’m not a failure. After all, there is an entire community of ENFJ personalities out there. Experts studied people just like me, and determined there were enough of us to make up one of the sixteen personalities. And guess what? Those experts decided we are The Protagonists!
So I want to be the best ENFJ I can be. In fact, I am probably the most ENFJ person out there. Someday, after I become a bestselling author, I will probably be one of the examples of ENFJ, alongside Oprah, Elizabeth Bennet and, unexpectedly, John Cusack. Although, what am I saying? I’ll never be well-known enough for that. I mean, I don’t even know if I’ll ever publish another book, and there certainly isn’t any other reason anyone would ever know me…
Fluctuating self-esteem, y’all. ENFJ out! *Mic Drop*
Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she’s chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight. Her Christian romantic comedy, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, is available on Amazon!
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