Yes, I’m the personality type that doesn’t like being typecast. You can go ahead and typecast me that way before we start :)
It all started in high school when my dad became obsessed with this one personality test that used colors to define four types of people. It was called Dr. Hartman’s Color-Code Personality Test. You could be a Red, a Blue, a Yellow, or a White. I think it was possible to be some of each color, but the focus wasn’t “how many colors did you get?” It was “which color are you?” Before I had even taken the test, I was told I would be a Blue because that was the color my mother had gotten, and I was “just like [my] mother.”
I did a quick google search to look up the different types for you, so see the below list for the personality types that correspond with each color (This information was found on colorcode.com)
Red (Motive — Power): Red are the power wielders. Power: the ability to move from point A to point B and get things done, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of vision and leadership and generally are responsible, decisive, proactive, and assertive.
Blue (Motive — Intimacy): Blue are the do-gooders. Intimacy: connecting, creating quality relationships and having purpose, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of quality and service and are generally loyal, sincere, and thoughtful.
White (Motive — Peace): White are the peacekeepers. Peace: the ability to stay calm and balanced even in the midst of conflict, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of clarity and tolerance and are generally kind, adaptable, and good-listeners.
Yellow (Motive — Fun): Yellow are the fun lovers. Fun: the joy of living life in the moment, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of enthusiasm and optimism and are generally charismatic, spontaneous, and sociable.
Which one seems like the best one to you? I wanted to be Yellow. My brother got Yellow, my sister got White, and I got Blue.
The Blue was the worst one to me.
It was all the qualities I didn’t want or all the ones I was embarrassed of. In my mind it seemed like the weakest color, and I was so tired of being shy, weak, and emotional. I wanted to change. Now the description above doesn’t make it sound all that bad, but my dad had a book or something at the time, and we were all able to read more in depth about our types. Here’s more about the Blue-type:
“Blues have distinct preferences and have the most controlling personality. Their personal code of ethics is remarkably strong and they expect others to live honest, committed, lives as well. They enjoy sharing meaningful moments in conversation as well as paying close attention to special life events (e.g. birthdays and anniversaries). Blues are dependable, thoughtful, and analytical; but can also be self-righteous, worry-prone, and moody. They are “sainted pit-bulls” who never let go of something or someone once they are committed. When you deal with a BLUE, be sincere and make a genuine effort to understand and appreciate them.”
The truth of the matter is, “eh, it’s not that bad.” But being typecast based on my mother was restrictive for me. I think it is rather common to not want to become your parents, and at the age of 16, it’s especially unappealing.
Another truth of the matter was that yes, I was mainly Blue, but Red was a close runner up in the results of my test with small percentages of Yellow and White. Being almost equal parts Blue and Red wasn’t a surprise to me since my dad was a Red and my mom was a Blue. I was simply a mix of the both of them just as you would expect. But everyone always called me a Blue after that or would point out when I was being a Blue (luckily this favorite pastime has passed).
Wanting To Change
However like I mentioned before, I was always interested in changing and growing and so didn’t care to “learn” what my personality type was (because I knew myself pretty well) and because I strived to be more fluid.
My mother struggled with worry and anxiety at the time. And she always said, “that’s just the way I am.” If she ever had a catch phrase, that would be it. She believed you couldn’t change the way you were. You were born with a personality with all its strengths and flaws. And I began to believe that as well.
By the time I met my husband, “that’s just the way I am” had become my new catchphrase. I wanted to change certain things about myself, and he would tell me I could! But I would tell him he didn’t understand and that I couldn’t. Seems like someone needed to read The Little Engine That Could (i.e. me).
When the Myers Briggs test came out, I shrunk away again for fear of putting myself in a box once more. People proudly announced their types in the form of the four letters on their facebook or instagram profiles. I tried doing the test multiple times over the course of a few years and got a different combination of letters each time. I was never satisfyingly or starkly one type. I was always one point off from being another personality type. It made sense to me that that would be the case. “I’m more complex than these four letters,” I thought.
Not only are we as people complex, but we are fluid and changing, a truth I didn’t know to be true until I unlocked the capability to change myself.
It turns out when you tell yourself over and over again that you “can’t” do something, it becomes your truth. You can’t! If you believe you will never change, you won’t! Once I realized this and started searching for resources to grow and change behaviors of mine that I wasn’t very fond of, I grew and changed! Through all my growing and changing, I really learned who I was as a person and learned not to stereotype myself. Sure, I say and do stereotypical “me” things because I’m still “me” after all. But I also surprise myself from time to time. I’m trying to have that as a personal goal — the surprising myself thing. I don’t want my relationship with myself to get stagnant :)
Not too long ago the enneagram test came out, but this time I knew myself well enough to not get too annoyed by it (although I still really dislike personality tests). I have heard a lot of people have been helped by this test and prefer it over others that came before. I took it a few times and got different answers. The results didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know about myself.
Stepping Out Of The Box
How many boxes can we put ourselves into? If you do every personality test, your box might just get smaller and smaller as you hone in on who you are by letting internet tests define you based on 30 questions. And putting yourself into a box isn’t only the fault of personality tests. We define ourselves by our likes or dislikes, our politics or religion, or by the way kids in school defined us 20 years ago and which are still subconsciously affecting us. We carry many labels.
I am trying to be very conscious of the limitations I put on myself. I’m not going to be perfect in this, but it helps me to live a freer life. If personality tests help you, by all means continue to allow them to help you! But in case you’re a little bored of yourself, remember you don’t need to stay a Red or an INFJ or a 7. You can change.