Your personality type and the pandemic
Navigating our way through something like a pandemic which requires self-isolation at home can be made easier by understanding our personality types and how we might respond to the restrictions.
Based on the Myers Briggs personality type inventory (MBTI), those who identify as having a preference for ‘introversion’ will find their energy from time spent in their 'inner world'. Those with a preference for ‘extraversion’ will prefer being around people and being involved with others.
Please note that these descriptions are sometimes confused with our common definition of 'introvert' and 'extravert', and although I’ll use these terms here, our understanding of them within the MBTI is a bit different.
Of course, the dynamics between the four elements identified within the inventory are way more complicated than this, but for the purposes of this writing, let’s focus on these two elements.
If you’ve never worked with a qualified practitioner to work through your preferences, you might use the following statements to help identify whether you prefer introversion or extraversion:
Introversion or extraversion?
Those identifying as having a preference for introversion will recognise the following;
- I feel comfortable with my own company and exploring ideas by thinking things through.
- I am sometimes seen as being reserved and reflective.
- When I’m tired, I prefer to spend time perhaps reading or walking alone.
- I can be seen as slow to take action.
- I tend to have close relationships with only a few people.
Those identifying as having a preference for extraversion will recognise the following;
- I enjoy getting things into action and making things happen.
- I’m comfortable with groups and am often seen as outgoing.
- I like active involvement in events.
- I can sometimes jump into things and not think things through thoroughly.
- When I’m tired, I enjoy socialising and relaxing with other people.
Your preference for introversion or extraversion might give you some clues as to how you’re coping (or not) with our current circumstances during this pandemic.
Largely, restrictions and isolation are going to be harder for extraverts as their need to mix with people, bounce ideas around and generally be sociable has, of course, been severely limited. For someone who is keen to be involved and make things happen, many things are out of your control and you might feel frustrated that you can’t take action. You may feel you need others to be creative and, whether working at home or having an enforced sabbatical, you might feel quite down that you don’t have access to this energy source at the moment, perhaps reducing your feeling of self-esteem and motivation.
Many will find it useful to take advantage of all the technology at your fingertips to keep in touch with loved ones and friends – a virtual hug is better than none at all. Some might even find the opportunity to volunteer to help others in order to keep active and involved. And, planning for the future will give you some sense of control too.
For introverts, many will be relishing the downtime. In fact, it may be that for some, there has been little change. Especially if you would normally spend large amounts of time on your own, the current circumstances might mean little change. Unless, of course, you have your whole family or housemates at home with you all of a sudden.
Because your preference will be for working things out in your own world, not being surrounded by people, it will not be as much of a hardship. Not needing an excuse to not get involved with things gives you ample time to reflect, although you may need to guard against an increased focus on the constant news feed that is available right now, as this might cause more stress. You might relish the sense of community and examples of humanity that we’re seeing. Having the opportunity to listen to your whole body, not just what you have going on in your head will bring you a sense of wellness too.
Whilst I know that many of you will still be at work, whether at home or as a key worker, for others this enforced time of restriction can be valuable. For all of us, it can be a time to take stock as our worlds will have changed enormously, and it’s unlikely that it will ever be quite the same again.
It’s well documented that a crisis (whether personal or global) can be a good time to review and ask helpful questions. What is there in your past you’d like to leave behind? How are you making the best of you in dealing with the current circumstances? And, what would you like to take forward, or learn about, for your future? Depending on your personality type, you will have other ways of reflecting too, so I hope you can find time and space to wonder what this might mean for you in your personal development.
Perhaps you are already finding yourself reflecting on what the future may hold and making plans for changes in your life. Speaking to a life coach could help you use this time to prepare for any changes ahead. A life coaching session can be carried out online or over the phone and could offer helpful guidance for the future ahead.