“Know Yourself”: Using Personality Tests to Prepare for a Relationship
Contributed by Sunder Willett
Talking about the growth of young people, True Father says, “You know your own character best. You know the talents you have. Follow where your original mind wants to lead you.” And some common relationship advice is to be authentic, to be “yourself.” However, “who am I?” is usually not a question we deliberately seek answers to. In fact, our personality or character traits may not even be readily apparent to ourselves.
One way of defogging the mystery around ourselves is through asking others like parents, siblings, or close friends who. “How do I present myself?” and “What kind of person do you think I am?” can provide valuable answers to better understanding yourself. Of course, asking such questions can be downright frightening. Fortunately, for those of us, myself included, who are intimidated by such conversations, there exists an anonymous and perhaps pain-free method of asking someone “What do you think me?”: personality tests.
There are thousands of personality tests now available online. Any one of these tests could provide you with valuable insights into yourself. However, take care to avoid this common personality test mistake: treating your results as “factual” or set in stone. All a personality test can tell you is a general impression of yourself and common traits, strengths, and weaknesses people with similar answers have. It cannot actually tell you who you are.
Then what’s the point of such tests? Actually, some of the most valuable information can come from examining those common traits, strengths, and weaknesses and seeing which you resonate with and which you do not. For instance, I score an INFP on 16personalities.com. Some traits that I resonate with are “self-conscious”, and “conflict-adverse”. One that I do not resonate with is “creative”. By seeing that I resonate with being self-conscious and conflict-adverse, I’ve been able to work on worrying less about my self-image and to allow healthy conflict to arise in my relationships. And seeing that I do not resonate with being creative has allowed me to question how I can find more outlets to express creativity. The best thing about “personality” is that it changes, and we can always continue growing ourselves.
The same caveat about personality tests is true for talking to others, even our own parents or siblings, and asking them about ourselves. While our parents or siblings probably know us very well and in more detail than a generalized test, even they, or anyone else, cannot know us perfectly. So, the answers we receive, even from them, should not simply be accepted as facts. However, introspection and knowing ourselves is not easy, and sometimes we are not able to see ourselves in the worst or even the best light the way others can. Knowing how we express ourselves to the world is an important step in growing our more positive nature and pruning our more negative nature; thus being the best person we can be for our future partner.
Check out 16personalities.com for a quick (20-minutes) and free test that gives a Myers-Briggs typology (like INFP) and explanations of common characteristics for each typology.
Check out flagpages.com for a relationship and marriage related test with breakdowns of interpersonal skills and motivators.