Analyzing Yourself

My mom loves psychology and studying who we are and why we make the choices we do.  Growing up, I was taught not only the ability to analyze myself, but also the necessity of it.  She taught me that it was imperative to discern why I made certain choices, so that I could decide if I wanted to keep making the same ones.

I’ll admit that there are times when I feel I over-analyze myself, but as Socrates said:

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

There are so many ways we analyze ourselves.  Even more ways in which others can analyze us.  There’s horoscopes, Rorschach tests, color tests, and any number of frivolous tests on the internet or in magazines.  All of these are designed to tell you something about yourself, yet, they’re labeling you based solely on the criteria they put into their tests.

flowchart-full

Flow Chart for Vermont Summer Guide

My step-daughter, Athena, gets a teen magazine that has a personality quiz or two in it each month.  They’re usually set up like a complicated flow chart, where you answer one question and it directs you to another, and another, and so on, until you finally come to an end point in the chart and know what your “personality type” is for this quiz.

She loves to ask me these quizzes, and yes, they’re harmless fun, but they also promote labeling of yourself or others, again, based on EXTREMELY limited data.

I once had someone read my astrological chart when I was in my early 20s.  He said some things about me that I’d heard before and knew were true about myself, but he also said some things that didn’t seem true at all.  Sure, they were negative aspects to my character, so naturally I didn’t want to hear them, but they were traits I honestly couldn’t remember displaying, nor could I envision myself doing so at any point in the future.  However, no amount of logic from myself, or my friend who’d gone with me at the time, could shake the bad feelings I now had about myself, because of this 15-minute reading.

Another method of analyzing that I find interesting, but quite faulty is handwriting analysis. How can the “experts” find out about your personality just by looking at your penmanship?  While I agree that you can sometimes see personality traits in a person’s penmanship, it’s a vague science, at best.  How can they possibly make snap judgements when there are any number of factors to take into account?

For instance, when I hand-write a letter, my letters don’t look the others on the same page: no two “ls” are the same, or “os”, “ss”, or “ns.”  And my handwriting could look better or worse depending on several factors: how much sleep I got, how rushed I am, what sort of mood I’m in that day, etc.  I’ve actually looked back at some of my journal entries and barely recognized the writing as my own.   If someone made a decision about me based on that, they’d probably come up with an incomplete picture of who I really am.

Even something as innocuous as your favorite movie, book, or music can change from day to day, depending on where you are in life.  One day, I might say that my favorite movie is Powder, or The Truman Show, and yet on some other day, I might claim The Usual Suspects or Face Off as a favorite.  Like a diamond, it’s all a matter of which facet is shimmering in the light.

So, while I believe analyzing yourself is a good, necessary component of being a fully-functioning human, I think it’s important to take the diagnoses formed from various possible analytical tools with a bit of caution.  Since we’re all multifaceted creatures, it might be better to take many “personality tests” and compile them together to get the whole picture of who you are.  But also remember, that picture can change on any given day.

After all, you might be in a Usual Suspects mood.  😉

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana Fredsti
    Jun 07, 2013 @ 10:36:47

    There is a difference between analyzing specific personality traits/flaws/strengths, etc., and working with them and taking a quiz or handwriting analysis, etc. And yeah, my answers to ‘what is your favorite … ‘ change on a daily basis! Another fun post, m’dear! Oh, and by way of synchronicity, I took a “chakra” test yesterday and according to the responses, I am ALLLL screwed up and out of balance and must buy many products to balance my closed and weak chakras. So… there ya have it.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jun 07, 2013 @ 10:38:32

      LMAO! Thanks for reminding me of another reason for some tests – How buying their products will make you a better/happier/healthier/etc person!

      Good luck with your messed up chakras. 😉

      Reply

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