Know thyself

So the last 5 years have been quite tumultuous for me, I have lost 3 jobs in that time, I have moved to London, and had 2 failed relationships/dating experiences. So at the beginning of this year in the midst of being diagnosed with moderate/severe depression, I really wanted to take the time to try and work out who I am, and what my strengths and demons are.

So, how have I done it? I have done the MBTI test, I have seen a counsellor, and I have looked at my astrological natal chart. Here’s a break-down for each, which I will go into more detail as we go on (this is going to be a long one):

NHS Counsellor: She advised I need to work on my self-esteem and assertiveness.

MBTI: INFJ-T (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging – Turbulent)

Astrologically: Sun sign (or star sign): Cancer, Moon sign: Sagittarius, Rising/Ascendent: Scorpio. And because I have gone deep on this North Node: Taurus (6th house), South Node: Scorpio (12th house).

5 Love Language: Quality Time: 12, Words of Affirmation: 7, Acts of Service: 5, Physical Touch: 4, Receiving Gifts: 2.

So, I guess the easiest thing to do is start from the beginning?

In January I went to the doctors…

I had gone to the doctor because I was struggling to put on the weight I lost during 2017 when two relationships ended (I went from 8 stone down to 6), and was feeling ‘a bit down’, she referred me to a counsellor, who, after a 45 minute phone consultation said I had moderate to severe depression. To be honest really that came as a bit of a shock, other people had much worse problems than me, who was just nursing a broken-heart.

It took a while to get my first session but we had nailed down that I had self-esteem and assertiveness issues, harking back to the decade-long bullying I endured as a child, which had warped how I see myself and a people pleaser unable to feel that I can voice my opinion in fear that it would put people off me, as well as trust issues that had built up with numerous people I had dated messaging others whilst with me (cheers, you cockwombles).

I went to one of the workshops they advised, but I found it a bit disappointing, it was more about what low self-esteem was rather than how to build confidence.

What I did do, however, was go to the dentist back home in June and have them file down (or contour as they call it now) my teeth, they took off 2-3mm, and the difference it has made is really amazing, I don’t hate my teeth anymore (the pic below will show you how bad my teeth were) and I smile and laugh without covering my mouth. It really is an overwhelming weight of self criticism off my shoulders.

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The self esteem and assertiveness is still a work in progress for me, I have never been very good at expressing or talking about my feelings, which I think sometimes people think means I am indifferent, when it is really the opposite.

Getting to know my Myers Briggs..

My digital marketing course started in full swings at the beginning of the year, and one of the things they wanted us to do was to take the Myers Briggs personality test (you can find yours here: 16personalities) and I came out as an INFJ-T, now apparently it’s the rarest personality type (of course it is) making up less the 1% of the population.

So essentially, I am an introvert, being around people drains me (unlike extroverts who gain energy), so occasionally I need bouts of solitude, and I remember as a teenager being incredibly frustrated (to the point of tears and tantrums) at not being able to have a day or two where I did not see a soul. But this does not mean I don’t like to be social, I do like to be round people and I am often finding bars or exhibitions to go to with friends, although I probably prefer it on a more one-to-one basis than big groups.

I also found some very YouTube videos discussing the INFJ type including the INFJ stare, where apparently it appears that we are just staring into your soul whilst you are talking, which can come across as intense or unsettling (let me know if that’s true, those of you who know me).

INFJ’s are apparently also great empaths, and can somehow know how you are feeling, but because of this sensitivity, it means it can affect our mood too, and this I have experienced, although only realised in hindsight, when I been with someone and sensed doubt, it then makes me feel doubt, and I almost mirror that back at them.

The most interesting thing about the INFJ is their shadow functions, so, how they act when upset or under stress. The shadow function is the opposite personality type to the INFJ, but the negatives of that personality type (which would be ESTP) here ar ejust some of the ways we act from Jennifer Soldner’s site:

  • acting or behaving impulsively, without regard to themselves or those around them.
  • lashing out toward those they care about, behaving in a combative manner and even seeking out verbal or physical altercations.
  • focusing only on the negative aspects of their life as well as the negatives of those around them.
  • becoming hypercritical of everyone and everything.
  • overeating, drinking to excess, abusing drugs or seeking sexual promiscuity.
  • excessively playing video games or watching television.
  • acting selfishly and materialistically.
  • disregarding their personal moral code.

I can tell you that at the end of last year I experienced a burn-out (which the doctor also thinks contributed to my depression) I was ill for 2 months, my body just gave up, I got every cold that came my way, eczema, I felt sick all the time, to the point where the smell of my shampoo was making me wretch (this I never told anyone at the time, I was trying, very unsuccessfully to pretend everything was fine).

This burn out caused me to become quite selfish, and maybe a bit self-interested? I just had no energy for anyone else, which I know was a major factor in a relationship ending with a really amazing person at the end of last year, but I guess we learn and grow from these situations, right?

The fault lies not in the stars… or does it?

So one of the other major, non-scientific, ways you can find out about your personality, is through astrology, now I always just thought Cancer was my star sign and that was it, and some bits were pretty accurate, but not all, now I have a few friends who are way more into astrology than I and encouraged me to do one of those free online natal charts (especially as I knew the exact time of day I was born too).

So this is what it chucked up:

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A load of gobbledygook right? Well the most important things on here are the Sun, Moon, Ascendent, and most recently the North and South nodes. (still sounds like gobbledygook doesn’t it?)

So the Sun sign reflects your personality, the Moon sign represents your emotions, and the Ascendent/Rising is how you present yourself to the world and the North/South nodes are “the key to your destiny and life lesson”.

So, the the Cancerian personality, on the face of it looks like it could be quite boring, but apparently very emotional (yup, hi there) and because they are ruled by the moon, very changeable (yup, sorry mum and dad), Cancers also operate by feelings rather than logic (that’s why you can usually spot a Cancerian if they say ‘I feel…’ a lot, and also, I do say that a lot) because we are emotional beings we put up a massive guard, and for me I would say this is true, it really takes me around 3/4 months to really start trusting someone properly, the best explanation I have seen for this is ‘fragile steel’. They are also homebodies, and would rather stay in than go out, and also like routine, which for me is true to a certain extent.

On the surface, that really does sum me up, but once you crack my guard, you get to see more my Moon side, which is Sagittarius, with my moon being in this sign, it really opens up a lot of inner conflict for me. A need to roam, a need for change and a need for variety, basically freedom and travelling as well as also liking a challenge, which I would say was very accurate, at least in a lifetime partner in crime I am looking for someone who would challenge me, help me view different perspectives, widen my intellectual horizons. Also this is very much in conflict with my Sun sign, and one of my friends said ‘no wonder you are always so tired with that internal war going on inside’ and I think she may have a point, I feel like I have spent most of this year not knowing really what I want, after having felt so sure last year.

The Rising/Ascendent sign is how others see you, so how you represent yourself to the world, my ascendent is in Scorpio. According to several sites, this means that we keep emotions concealed (already mentioned this in Cancer, and actually I really find it incredibly hard to talk/reveal my emotions, one of my downsides) and apparently this makes us seem mysterious (and actually I recently went on a date with someone who said he was frustrated he couldn’t read me). This sign is also very all or nothing, and again I think that is true of myself, a close friend of mine said I am either 0 or 100mph, and one sentence I found which really struck a chord with how I operate is:

There’s something alluring about you, yet others may sense danger. With you, a relationship is all or nothing and very few win entry into the circle of trust.

This is why I am not a fan of casual dating, if I like someone I am 110% in, and I fall hard, sadly that means the hurt can be hard too.

And one last point, is that this sign does not like superficiality.

Speaking of love, that brings me onto the final section, I was trying to work out why all my relationships fail..

The language of love..

I had a 4 year hiatus of dating/seeing people until last year, in that time I really enjoyed time by myself, I was really rather content, and I moved to London within that time too.

Dating had changed a lot since 2012, and I thought it would be easier in London, but it’s actually harder, especially with dating apps, people are expendable, and that just feels wrong to me. Also, I just really don’t like dating, I am good at being single or good at being in a relationship, the stuff in between, nope.

Anyway in one of the failed relationships last year I really tried to overcome the not discussing my feelings/issues thing, and because I hadn’t dated properly for 4 years, I kind of needed a bit of guidance, so after plucking up a lot of courage to ask if there was something I was doing too much of or not enough of and was told not to worry, but then it was brought up a few months later, this really frustrated me, because how can a relationship work if people aren’t being honest? And also because I really felt vulnerable asking that question, and I don’t like feeling vulnerable it makes me very anxious.

So anyway, after lots of thought (and going through a bit of an identity crisis), I knew that I wasn’t perfect either, and after realising that people don’t love and think exactly as I do, that I need to; a) work out exactly what is important to me and b) try and be more open minded to what is important to other people, so I stumbled across this website called 5 love languages, its an online test which tells you what you find the most important in a relationship, my results were below:

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It’s pretty self explanatory, but essentially, I like to show I love someone by spending time with them, and I would like them to reciprocate in kind, one ex of mine a long time ago used to get annoyed because he would ask what I wanted to do and I always said I didn’t mind, he saw it as me not being able to make a decision, but I really didn’t care what we did just as long as I got to spend time with him.

The score also incredibly high, and so far out of all my friends I haven’t come across anyone whose is as high as mine, at least though you know you don’t have to spend a fortune on me in presents! But going forward I think I will see if my next love interest would take this test, because I know that relationships take work and I am always 100% behind trying to work through any bumps in the road if the other person is willing to do so, and this could go some way to making that a bit easier.

In Conclusion/TL;DR…

So, what did I learn about myself this year and this deep dive into who I am? I am emotional and guarded, I have endured a lot of hurt but I always get up to fight another day. My bad side can be impulsive and selfish and moody, but I have accepted that is part of who I am, we all have demons.

I don’t like superficial or shallow people, I will be civil but I won’t make time for you, and I really appreciate honesty (especially when I ask for it). Sometimes I love routine, and then I will get fed up with it, I like to travel, and I like to have really deep conversations about movies and the meaning of life.

And above all I just want to spend time with people (friends, family, romanticals etc) who are as accepting of my flaws as I am of theirs.

Also, I am clearly pretty intense as I have written nearly a 2500 word blog about trying to work out who I am.

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