Updated: Oct 8, 2021
This is my first personality project, or in this case, one of multiple personality projects as I have changed over time and find the need to update my understanding of myself. In past articles I focused more on summarizing Myers Briggs types. This was partly because I resonated a lot with a certain type, and because I wanted to learn more about others and have a system where I could start understanding people while knowing it’s a simplified and imperfect model. In this article I will be talking about characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, and friendships of the “Sumay” type.
For a while I’ve thought of myself as an INFJ, but some of the characteristics in the description don’t describe me as well as they used to. An example is sensitivity to criticism and prone to burnout which I think, in a sense, I’ve “grown out of” from experience of taking criticism personally, pushing myself past my limit and then thinking maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. More specifically I am not as strong for the letter F. I am able to understand others’ emotions, but others’ emotions don’t have too much of an effect on my emotions. I think that this can be described as analytical emotional intelligence where you can understand others’ emotions by analysing the situation they are in, what triggered them to feel a certain way, and therefore identifying the root cause. But you may not start feeling sad if someone else is feeling sad.
Analytical emotional intelligence does have its downsides because although you understand others’ emotions and why they are feeling them, not everybody wants an analysis of why they are feeling the way they are and how to solve the problem. Sometimes they just want a hug, or just someone to tell them “I'm so sorry you are feeling this way.” By telling them what is the root cause of what caused them to feel negatively and how to solve the issue, people may feel as though you aren’t realizing the emotional state they are in and then have their negative emotions amplified.
Also, when it comes to being empathetic and trying to make people feel better everyone has different ways of approaching it. People with analytical emotional intelligence I observe usually only make these conscious efforts when it comes to people they really care about and people they are trying to build long term relationships with. This is what I usually do, because most of the time the amount of energy it takes doesn’t result in what I would call a hugely positive result. Especially since you can spend a bunch of time making someone feel better, but they are always going to become sad again at some point one way or another. This doesn’t mean I don’t like helping people, it’s that I may want to do it in a way that can cause positive benefits in a scalable way, or something that is going to help long term as well. And I may get fulfillment by knowing I am having a positive impact while not necessarily being in contact with whoever I am helping.
My thought process is very different for the people I really care about and want to build out long term relationships with and I try to be empathetic with these people. Some people are empathetic with everyone they meet and I think this is a very good trait and is a trait that comes from how much fulfillment people get from personally helping people and creating a human connection.
I have many strengths and weaknesses, and I like to think of them as characteristics instead because they can play out negatively and positively in different situations. Many of the strengths and weaknesses I am pulling from the INFJ and INTJ types. What’s funny is that the INTJ personality has Independant in it’s Strengths and the INFJ has Avoiding the Ordinary in it’s Weaknesses. These are both very similar and I would say I resonate with it and it can play out in positive and negative ways depending on the situation.
One weakness/strength is that I can be overly critical of things and I will question pretty much everything before believing it. This can be a weakness when you are in a conversation and someone is trying to make a point and you over analyze it, pointing out all the holes in their argument, tearing it up to a point where it is relatively unsalvageable even if their underlying point made perfect sense, but the way they delivered it wasn’t the best. This trait usually plays out in a negative way when I am more irritable and will start disagreeing with things unnecessarily because someone's choice of word wasn’t absolutely perfect. The trait can also be a strength, where even if you may be doing things differently, perhaps it is a better way, or at least a better way for you.
I think the friends that appeal to INTJs and INFJs are very similar except INFJs will put more emphasis on having someone they can share all their thoughts and emotions with, whereas INTJs will want someone that they can engage in intellectual discussions on important topics. Both have very high expectations and would rather have few very close friends that share their principles and passions instead of many acquaintances. I definitely relate to this, but there is the downside of having such a high bar that no one could possibly reach it, or stay at such a high level.
I would definitely recommend anyone to create a Know Thyself Project. Don’t take a personality test and assume it is correct. A lot of the test may be skewed since some of the questions may appear to have a “correct” answer, or at least a more appealing answer. My recommendation would be to take the test so you can start thinking about yourself and who you are. But then read about all the other personality types and take bits and pieces from all of them to try and refine your understanding of yourself. Not everything is going to be correct, and even parts of what is your “opposite” personality type you may resonate with. When it comes to weaknesses, you aren’t going to be able to fix them overnight, and I don’t think you should try to fix them. Instead, minimize the situations in which they play out in a negative way. When they do play out in a negative way, at least then you can identify what caused the issue and quickly apologize to whoever you may have negatively impacted.
In conclusion, learn about yourself because you are in the best position to do so. Leverage your unique strengths because that is what makes you irreplaceable. Follow the path that uses who you are, combined with your interests to create value for other people. This is the fastest way to reach a point of freedom where what you want to do adds value to others. But it all starts with learning about who you are.