I seem to be on the cusp of another significant period of growth and exploration of my perspective. I mentioned in a recent email that I was going to address some issues that have been running around my head for a while. I believe I also mentioned that I have recently done the Myers Briggs personality test again. I originally did the test in early 2000. My results have changed in interesting ways.
My core personality type hasn’t changed but the scores I got in each section have given me cause for contemplation.
I am classified or categorized as a “thinker” which means that I use my head more than my heart to make decisions. So for example, if I was faced with a major life-threatening challenge, my instinct would be to logically think about how I want to approach this challenge and then mechanically go ahead and tackle it. Now I’m no robot, but the more I reflect the more it appears that I’m pretty damn close sometimes.
I’ve made some remarkable discoveries lately as I’ve had a few select chats about these recent experiences and reflections. One is that my latest Myers Briggs scores had my “thinking” score almost triple from the score I had in 2000 when I originally took the test. That suggests to me that I’m living in my head far too much and not feeling what I’m feeling. In fact I would go so far to say that at times, I’m so far removed from my feelings I have no idea what I’m feeling. It would appear that with the relapse of my Leukemia and the subsequent challenges I have faced have lead me to bump up my thinking and virtually ignore my feelings.
A point of clarity: I do think of myself as a very compassionate person and consistently make the effort to empathize with other people’s situations. However I am going to suggest that my empathizing falls flat when it’s turned internally.
There are a couple of key things happening to me lately that I’ve discovered and I’ll tell you a short story to illustrate.
I am in the process of having genetic testing done for a disease called Huntington’s Disease. It is a degenerative neurological disorder that can be extremely devastating. I’ve had members of my family have this disease very severely however I was much too young (or not even born) to remember. There is a one in two chance that I’ll have this disease that can strike as early as the 30s and usually leads to a very challenging and dependent phase that has got to be extremely tough on family members and friends. There is a very structured process that a person must follow in order to receive the results of their test and I am finished the first two steps of three which involved interviews with a counselor, both with me on my own and with Karen present. The third step will hopefully happen later this month when the results from my blood test come back.
During the second interview, the one where Karen joined me, I was again asked a collection of questions relating to what I’d do if my test was positive or if it was negative. It was my response that has opened me to this new discovery, or perhaps it’s an old discovery but it takes 10 or 20 times of discovering it to actually learn it and use it to grow.
I responded to the counselor like I was a politician or something, “if my test was positive I’d take it on as another challenge and use it as an opportunity to show others… blah blah blah.”
So Karen and I leave the meeting and we’re home shortly after and she says to me, “how do you feel about this testing?” and I say “I’m fine with it.” She’s says, “bullshit, how do you really feel?” to which I sat for a minute and responded “if it was positive it would be a real bummer.”
It seems as though I’m so used to getting face-first into my challenges that I’ve removed the part of dealing with challenges that involves feeling. It’s an area that needs a whole lot of work, a major amount of work for me…
I am learning that a major part of dealing, and more specifically, healing involves feeling.
I suck at that last part.
As I’ve always said, it’s the awareness of an issue that is the major step for me. Once I’m aware of an issue I’m usually very good at dealing with it. I’m now learning that my way of dealing isn’t necessarily constructive and that my way of dealing is in fact what needs dealing right now.
Count on hearing from me as I continue down this new road.
Live life. Love life.