I've always been a big proponent of the idea that if you don't love and understand yourself, you can't fully love and understand others. I've been a big fan of tests and quizzes that will help me to better understand myself and aspects of my personality that I don't outright recognize. I think it started with the Harry Potter themed house and Patronus quizzes on the Pottermore website, which I recommend to anyone (they're eerily accurate).

During my senior year, my friends came to the lunch table one day after their psych class raving about something called a Myers Briggs personality type test. They were all so amazed by how accurate their results were, and how much the results allowed them to learn and recognize about themselves. I became increasingly intrigued the more they discussed the test, so I looked it up on the internet. At first, I was shocked that the real test wasn't free, but then they pointed out a website called 16Personalities that allowed you to take the test for free.

I took it that day, and as soon as my results came up, I was fascinated. The result homepage offered a brief overview of the personality type itself and listed some celebrities or characters with that type that you might know (I was really proud to be classified in the same type as Pam Beesly from The Office and Beyonce). I expected the overview to be the extent of the results, considering it was a free test, but there were so many more pages: strengths and weaknesses; the personality type in the settings of friendships, romantic relationships, and parenting; career paths that would suit you best; workplace habits and a summary of all of the points made.

As I read through each of these categories, I was amazed at the depth of each description and how closely they mirrored my actual personality. I didn't realize how much I would learn: I learned how I can be a better friend, partner, and coworker, as well as how to better take care of myself and my personal needs.

I've persuaded all of my friends to take this test and to read not only their descriptions but the descriptions of their friends' personality types. Learning about the personalities of the people in your life you are closest with can help you to understand and recognize the things they might not be telling you in normal conversations or on a day-to-day basis. Understanding their wishes can improve your relationship, and show them how much you care about them.

Regardless of whether you believe in these kinds of tests or feel that your results are accurate, the act of simply taking the test itself can help you to evaluate (or reevaluate) the way you relate to others, the way you treat yourself, and the things you can do to improve your life and make you happy.

If you haven't explored your Myers Briggs classification yet, I highly suggest it. Devote 20 minutes out of your day to self-reflection and self-exploration. I promise it'll be worth it.

(I'm an ISFJ if any of you were curious :) )