Personality Tests

How many personality tests have you taken in your life?  I’ve taken a few.  One had to do with colors.  People are either reds, blues, yellows, or whites.  Every time I’ve taken that test I’ve come out different.  First I was a blue with yellow undertones (whatever that means).  Once I took that test on a forced leadership retreat back in college with a narcissistic control freak and I turned out to be white with red undertones (again, I don’t know what that means) and I think my results reflected my mood around this obnoxious person.  Of course he turned out to be a red, which meant he was a Type A, dictatorial, megalomaniac with a Napoleon complex, but he didn’t need to fill out a multiple choice exam for me to tell him that.  (((Shudder)))

Another personality test I took, again in college, was the one they gave me when I was accepted into the Elementary Education program.  Apparently, they wanted to know exactly who we were so they could pigeonhole us into becoming what they thought the ideal teacher was.  In this one, again only 4 personality types, you’re either a one, two, three, or four.  I turned out to be a four.  Their description of a four was that this person is dynamic and charismatic and can either wind up the President of the United States or in prison for life.  Great. Apparently I also buy flashy sports cars, wait until Christmas Eve to buy presents, and have the potential to share a cell with a woman named Mickey and a tattoo made from pen ink and a sharpened toothbrush for life.  Apparently fours are not suitable to be teachers and they treated me as such.  I dropped out and found a career I love that doesn’t make me spend 8 hours a day wiping snotty noses and yelling at brats to sit down and shut up (which is exactly the kind of teacher I would be).

Then I took the Myers-Briggs test because people kept telling me they were series of letters expecting me to know what that meant.  At least with this personality test there are 16 possibilities instead of deciding that there are only four kinds of people in the world.  So I took the test and I turned out to be an, (((drumroll)))

ENFP
Yeah, I had no idea what that meant either.  But when I read the description from many different interpretative texts, I thought it pretty much described me.
E – stands for Extroversion.  Newsflash….I’m an extrovert.
N – stands for Intuitive.  Apparently I think in more abstract ways than concrete.
F – stands for Feeling.  I’m ruled by emotions instead of by logic.
P – stands for Perception.  It means I tend to withhold judgment and like to keep my options open.
This site pretty much gives a good summation of all that I have read about ENFPs.  

The Inspirer

As an ENFP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system.

ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. 

Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it.

ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime. To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent, in that they have a strong sense of values which they live with throughout their lives. Everything that they do must be in line with their values. 

An ENFP needs to feel that they are living their lives as their true Self, walking in step with what they believe is right. They see meaning in everything, and are on a continuous quest to adapt their lives and values to achieve inner peace. They’re constantly aware and somewhat fearful of losing touch with themselves. Since emotional excitement is usually an important part of the ENFP’s life, and because they are focused on keeping “centered”, the ENFP is usually an intense individual, with highly evolved values.

An ENFP needs to focus on following through with their projects. This can be a problem area for some of these individuals. Unlike other Extraverted types, ENFPs need time alone to center themselves, and make sure they are moving in a direction which is in sync with their values. ENFPs who remain centered will usually be quite successful at their endeavors. Others may fall into the habit of dropping a project when they become excited about a new possibility, and thus they never achieve the great accomplishments which they are capable of achieving.

Most ENFPs have great people skills. They are genuinely warm and interested in people, and place great importance on their inter-personal relationships. ENFPs almost always have a strong need to be liked. Sometimes, especially at a younger age, an ENFP will tend to be “gushy” and insincere, and generally “overdo” in an effort to win acceptance. However, once an ENFP has learned to balance their need to be true to themselves with their need for acceptance, they excel at bringing out the best in others, and are typically well-liked. 

They have an exceptional ability to intuitively understand a person after a very short period of time, and use their intuition and flexibility to relate to others on their own level.

Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery. They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivous to these types of concerns. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP’s family members.

An ENFP who has “gone wrong” may be quite manipulative – and very good it. The gift of gab which they are blessed with makes it naturally easy for them to get what they want. Most ENFPs will not abuse their abilities, because that would not jive with their value systems.

ENFPs sometimes make serious errors in judgment. They have an amazing ability to intuitively perceive the truth about a person or situation, but when they apply judgment to their perception, they may jump to the wrong conclusions.

ENFPs who have not learned to follow through may have a difficult time remaining happy in marital relationships. Always seeing the possibilities of what could be, they may become bored with what actually is. The strong sense of values will keep many ENFPs dedicated to their relationships. However, ENFPs like a little excitement in their lives, and are best matched with individuals who are comfortable with change and new experiences.

Having an ENFP parent can be a fun-filled experience, but may be stressful at times for children with strong Sensing or Judging tendancies. Such children may see the ENFP parent as inconsistent and difficult to understand, as the children are pulled along in the whirlwind life of the ENFP. Sometimes the ENFP will want to be their child’s best friend, and at other times they will play the parental authoritarian. But ENFPs are always consistent in their value systems, which they will impress on their children above all else, along with a basic joy of living.

ENFPs are basically happy people. They may become unhappy when they are confined to strict schedules or mundane tasks. Consequently, ENFPs work best in situations where they have a lot of flexibility, and where they can work with people and ideas. Many go into business for themselves. They have the ability to be quite productive with little supervision, as long as they are excited about what they’re doing.

Because they are so alert and sensitive, constantly scanning their environments, ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension. They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being controlled or labelled. They need to maintain control over themselves, but they do not believe in controlling others. Their dislike of dependence and suppression extends to others as well as to themselves.

ENFPs are charming, ingenuous, risk-taking, sensitive, people-oriented individuals with capabilities ranging across a broad spectrum. They have many gifts which they will use to fulfill themselves and those near them, if they are able to remain centered and master the ability of following through.
Some parts of this description ring more true to me than others, but for the most part it’s pretty accurate.  After reading this I finally understood what drew me to Social work in the first place.  
What about you?  Have you taken the Myers-Briggs personality test?  What is your personality type?  Do you feel like it fits you?  Why or why not? 

Book Review – House Rules by Rachel Sontag

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sontag’s memoir of growing up with an emotional abusive father is extremely well written.  I wanted to devour the entire book in one sitting.  This novel perfectly illustrates how damaging emotional abuse is, much worse than physical abuse.  The scars from emotional abuse never heal.  

Sontag’s parents were professionals, her father a respected doctor and her mother a social worker.  Yet, despite their shiny facade, the book details how Rachel was singled out for her father’s abuse while her sister was ignored.  Sontag uses examples like forgetting her house keys and her father refusing to let her inside, even in the freezing cold, because she broke a house rule and needs the punishment.  His punishments are completely without mercy.  He even made Rachel write apology letters to him and forced her to edit them until they sounded more heartfelt and sincere.  He would have nightly talks with her and make her write down all the awful things about herself, like “I’m a brat.  I’m worthless.”  

Sontag chronicles how she managed to survive high school and go on to Smith College.  She drops out and roams around Boston basically homeless with no help from her parents.  Sontag finally reaches a breaking point with her father when he refuses to allow her to visit her friend in Colorado and tells her she needs to lose the money she spent on buying an airplane ticket.  She goes anyway and when her father finds out he cuts her off completely.  
Sontag still does not currently have a relationship with her father.  Sontag’s memoir discusses her struggle in trying to repair her relationship with her mother, which is almost impossible since her mother continually chooses her husband over her own children, and navigating a relationship with her sister who was largely ignored and discounted her entire childhood.  You would think this is just another bad parent memoir, but really Sontag’s book is filled with hope, over-coming, and becoming her own person despite the programming she was given by her father.  Her voice is strong and it left me grateful for my own mildly dysfunctional family.   
The Reader gets the impression that Sontag’s greatest journey is to find unconditional love.  Sometimes as an adult you have to give yourself what your parents never gave you.  I hope she finds that unconditional love within herself.

Bad Movie Review – The Animal

The Animal

All I should have to say is Rob Schneider and you will know that this movie is a big pile of dog doo.  And in my defense the only reason why I watched it is because the hubs works with someone who was in the movie and he was curious.  Curiosity killed this cat.  Rob Schneider plays an idiot, like he does in all his movies, named Marvin.  At least we’re spared from him shouting, “you can do it!” twenty times at Adam Sandler during this movie. 
And that’s the only good thing I have to say about it.  So anyway, Marvin, the idiot, is a schlup who wants to be a cop.  And after some weird accident, a mad-scientist in a creepy little cabin in the woods (because that’s where all mad scientists must perform their trans-species experiments.  It’s in the Mad Scientist rule book. Look it up), rebuilds Marvin’s body with animal parts.  Suddenly Marvin is imbued with animal strength and becomes some sort of super-cop and town hero.  Because I always like a cop who gets an old lady’s handbag back from a thief and immediately urinates on a fire hydrant in celebration.  And of course Rob has to have a lady love.  And this lady love is played by Colleen Haskell, fresh off her star-making turn in the first season ever of “Survivor.”  Rob, in his new role as super cop, has to save the town from some sort of mysterious monster (and don’t forget the weirdo in the woods experimenting on animal-human hybrids), and I don’t want to ruin the ending of this cinematic classic for you, but Colleen’s character is made from animal parts too.  She and Marvin go running off into the sunset together (really fast since they have Cheetah strength  now) and live happily ever after urinating on fire hydrants and storing nuts for winter.  And after this movie was over I had to scrub my brain for three hours with smart pills.  
Time to reconsider your career when a monkey can do it better than you

Book Review – Half the Sky

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women WorldwideHalf the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Women hold up half the sky.” –Chinese Proverb

No other book I have ever read has affected me the way this book has.  This is a non-fiction book written by two journalists who are married who describe what it is like to grow up as a girl in much of the world.  Kristof and WuDunn were journalists covering world events and human rights violations when they discovered that 200 million women are missing from the world.  That’s 500 times more people killed than in the Holocaust.  They were covering events like Tiananmen Square and being outraged that something that horrific could happen to ordinary citizens in China, when they learned that because of gender discrimination as many infant girls die unnecessarily every week in China as protesters who died in Tiananmen.  Every year, another 2 million girls disappear because of gender discrimination.  Gaining that knowledge led them to a crusade of telling the world these lost girl’s stories.

Kristof and DuWunn split up the book into different sections, the first dealing with twenty-first century slavery.  There are more slaves in the world in 2012 than there were back during what we commonly think of as the time of slavery during the African slave trades.  In these chapters, Kristof and WuDunn recount how common it is for peasant girls in parts of Asia and the Middle East to be kidnapped and sold into brothels.  There they are slaves to the brothel owners and are often raped and beaten into submission.  They are given drugs to make them compliant, but also far less tempted to run away when they become addicted.  Little girls as young as 8 years old are sex slaves in brothels.  This happens in 2012, people!  How is this acceptable?!

The next few chapters, Kristof and WuDunn talk about mass rape as often a weapon of war against women in places like Africa and the Middle East.  There is no faster way to break a civilization than to rape women to show how weak a culture is.  Many times these women are gang raped and tortured to bring dishonor to a family.  The worst place to be a woman in the world right now is the Congo where it is estimated that 90% of the female population has been raped.  Kristof and WuDunn feature the stories of a few women who have spoken out against being raped (often victims of rape are raped again if they go to the police by the police, are shamed into killing themselves to save the family honor, etc.) and have done things to fight back and change their culture and how their culture views rape and women.  Rape is more effective in killing a woman than actual poison.

Next Kristof and WuDunn talk about maternal mortality and how common it is for women to die in childbirth around the world.  Any American reader should be shocked that our own maternal mortality is much higher than it should be.  These chapters were my favorite because the authors discuss different heroes in the world doing something to help women give birth and survive.  I’ve  been a huge fan of Dr. Catherine Hamblin and the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital since she appeared on the Oprah Show for the first time over a decade ago.  We Western women probably have never heard of a fistula, let alone live with something so easily fixable but so debilitating to African women. A fistula is a small hole that is formed in the vagina during obstructed labor that either creates a hole to the bladder wall or rectum, causing the victim to leak urine or feces constantly and uncontrollably.  Dr. Hamblin treats fistula patients in Africa giving them back their dignity, their families, and their self-worth.  Kristof and WuDunn talk about how easy it is to give women access to good maternal medicine and how it is just not a priority in some countries.

The next section of the book deal with ways to help poverty-stricken countries and women.  Micro-lending through organizations like Kiva has done much to improve the quality of life for the women and men mentioned in the book.  Kristof and DuWunn do a good job of describing what kind of aid actually helps, and what hurts.  This was probably the most inspiring section as the authors chronicle ways that these countries have been helped through charitable entities.  It has been proven that when you empower women, give them equal voice and say, that countries and culture profit for the better.  You cannot discriminate against half your population and expect your country to succeed.

This book does a fine job of interspersing statistics and facts in with stories of real girls and real women.  I found these stories so readable and fascinating that I couldn’t help but feel sucked in to their worlds.  And I have found a new shero, Dr. Tererai Trent, a one-time victim of domestic violence, poverty, and illiteracy who went from being a cattle-herder in rural Africa to a woman with a doctorate degree.  As a reader, I wept with these women, rooted for them, and was immensely humbled by their stories.

I felt my American priviledge just dripping off me with every page I read.  Why did I deserve to be born in American?  Why aren’t I living on the Saharan desert struggling to survive in my mud hut, raising more children than I can handle, being beaten by my husband because that is his right, possibly being infected with AIDs, and not even having the ability to write my own name?  This is a reality for millions of women and here I sit on my laptop doing nothing.  Until I read this book.  Kristof and WuDunn have inspired me to give of my money, time and voice to help change the lives of these women for the better.

In the Appendix of the book, Kristof and WuDunn list organizations that the readers can get involved with to start helping these women change their lives for the better.  I love that the book is named after the Chinese proverb, “Women hold up half the sky,” because you cannot discriminate, eliminate, silence, rape, and kill, half the population of the world and not have devastating consequences.

I beg, implore, plead with you to read this book.  It will change your life.  I promise.

The book ends with one of my most favorite quotes:

“You must be THE CHANGE you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Ghandi

View all my reviews

Being the Helpee when you’re usually the Helper

Last month the hubs had orthoscopic hip surgery.  He’s had surgery before and I knew a little of what I was in for.  But this ended up being much worse than his prior surgery.

Right before his surgery I got a plate of cookies and a note from my new Visiting teachers.  I contacted one of them to thank her for the cookies and told her that the hubs was having surgery on a certain day.  Well, she was having a baby that day and I told her not to worry about it.

Somehow she must have because all of a sudden many people in my ward were coming up to me asking how they could help.  Since she was having a baby, I just decided to rely on family to help me and not worry about it. But the Relief Society President (bless her sweet, sweet heart) insisted that at least three meals be brought to my home.

I’m not good at asking for help.

There, I said it.

It was a huge deal just for me to mention to my new Visiting teacher in a Facebook message that the hubs was having surgery and I might need some help.  Huge.  I had to step so far out of my comfort zone.  I couldn’t even call her and tell her…I had to write it.

I think it comes from being raised to be very independent and self-sufficient.  I don’t need anybody, I can take care of  myself, right?  Okay, intellectually I know this is wrong, but I feel shame deep down inside for ever being vulnerable or asking for help.  Which is ridiculous because I never judge anyone else for needing help or being vulnerable.  Why do I expect more from myself than I do others?

It also stems from the fact I’m in a helping profession.  I’m the helper not the helpee.  I’m used to figuring out problems, coming up with plans, and helping others figure out theirs.

I’m used to taking care of others, I’m not used to being taken care of.  The only people I usually will accept from are the hubs, my mother-in-law, and my sister.

And then there came a time when I really needed help.  Really, really needed it.  I couldn’t do everything myself.  I couldn’t put on my star-spangled underoos and pretend that I’m Wonder Woman.  I was vulnerable.  This time, instead of being ashamed of it, I humbled myself.  I let others help me.  And they blessed my life.

My mother-in-law watched my children so I could worry about and be with the hubs in the hospital.  My sister took my older kids for the weekend so I could concentrate on taking care of the hubs instead of worrying about taking care of them.  My neighbors brought meals.  They offered prayers in my family’s behalf.  They offered babysitting.  They came over and checked on us.  They called to see how we were doing.  Some even brought meals when they hadn’t even been asked to do so by the Relief Society.

I hope they know the depth of gratitude I feel for all of them.  I’ve never felt so blessed in my whole life.  These people were my angels.  Their generosity and true kindness was like Heavenly Father reaching down and wrapping his arms around me.  I felt so loved, so cared about.

I will always be so incredibly grateful for my angels that helped my family during this experience.  You showed me the best of yourselves and the best of humanity during this time.  You might think that you didn’t really do anything that spectacular.  And maybe in the grand scheme of things, offering to watch my child so I could get an hour of peace, can’t be compared to nursing a colony of lepers for years on end.  But it was grand to me.  It meant so much to me that people actually cared enough about my family to show their concern.

You all know who you are and I love you.

Thank you.

“We cannot do great things.  We can only do small things with great LOVE.” -Mother Theresa

Favorite Quotes

My mom worked for the court system in Utah for 17 years before she passed away.  Every year she would go to the Orrin Hatch Women’s Conference and one year she came back with this quote.  I was in junior high at the time and had the typical bad attitude of a teenager in a full-on hormonal mood swing.  This quote has hung on my wall for almost two decades.  I have found it, as I have dealt with difficult situations and people in this life, to be very true.
ATTITUDE
by: Charles Swindoll
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.