A few months ago, CGA team member Alanna Woody shared some thought-provoking insights about personality types and caregiving on our Facebook page. We’ve compiled them here — along with the video she created about the same topic.
It’s time to talk personality types! There are three main tests I like: the 5 Love Languages, Myers-Briggs, and the Enneagram. I’d love to hear your thoughts about personality tests, and how knowing yourself has helped you grow as a person, and as a caregiver.
First of all, do you know what your personality type is? How about the person for whom you care? And how about your and a caree’s love languages?
I believe knowing what inherently lets us feel the most love is integral to the caregiving world. Ways we best receive love may not be the ways that our loved ones receive it.
There are five main love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
For instance, my grandmother’s love language definitely seems to fall under “gifts” and “quality time.” So for me, I must carve out ample time to see her, as well as show her how grateful I am when she presents me with a gift.
If you’re unsure of how you prefer to give/receive love, this little test is quite helpful to determine your love language(s).
Myers Briggs (MBTI) is a 16-type personality test that puts each of your main functions (Introvert/Extrovert, Intuition/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, and Perceiving/Judging) into one “type” that helps define you. You can learn more about it here in this article.
In terms of caregiving and life in general, I’ve found it vital to know the personality types of your loved ones. Understanding MBTI gives me more empathy in understanding others’ wants, needs, and decisions. When I have the ability to think through why someone chooses what they choose, or performs how they perform, I reach a deeper understanding about them. And that can be quite transforming when it comes to caregiving.
Some of us rely heavily on our emotions, while others tend to think through events logically. And some of us prefer a “go with the flow” lifestyle, while others prefer a set and ready schedule. None of these are bad; they are simply the way in which we best and most intuitively function.
These personality tests are helpful not to box people in, but rather to give us tools to more fully and effectively discover ourselves and others.
Not sure what type you are? Take this test.
The Enneagram is my favorite of all personality tests, because instead of simply showing who you are and how you act/think, the Enneagram is more relational.
It allows you to see how you fit into the world around you, how to strengthen relationships by understanding both personalities in the relationship — their strengths, weaknesses, needs, and gifts.
Understanding the Enneagram types is also an avenue for understanding underlying desires and pains when frustrations occur. There are a ton of great resources out there if you want to further understand the Enneagram, or you can read more about it here.
For example, I am a type 5. This means I am independent, spend a ton of time thinking and analyzing, and prefer to have boundaries and privacy. I am also empathetic, withdrawn, and argumentative. Understanding my weaknesses, seeing my desires written out plainly (and checking in with myself to see if they’re an accurate representation), and learning ways to show I care have all been instrumental in this time of caring for my grandmother.
When I feel myself becoming frustrated, I can step back and think “what is the root of this feeling? Is someone crossing a boundary? Is someone frustrated and I’m taking on that feeling as well? Is someone challenging me to an argument?” When I remove the high emotions and look at problems analytically, I am able to better understand all perspectives.
Find out what your Enneagram number is by taking this free test.
Now we want to hear from you!
What personality indicator do you like the best, or do you like all of them for a deeper understanding of all parts of who you are?
Also, how has understanding your personality type helped you as a caregiver? Comment below. (We love to hear from all of our readers!)