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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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The Importance of Knowing Who We Are

These past two weeks have been time for reflection, for remembering what is important to me and my family, and for unwinding and regrouping before the next steps forward.  So I hope you don’t mind my sharing with you some of my pondering along this journey…

The Importance of Knowing Who We Are

I believe we are much happier and more effective people if we take the time and the energy to understand who we are and how we think.  Throughout my life, my self-awareness has ebbed and flowed.  I’ve changed careers several times, as I grew and tried to create positive change in the world.  The closer I come to understanding myself, the more I become aware of how my actions affect others – now and in the future – and the more I am able to effectively communicate and motivate.

Recently I spent some time looking at my Myers-Briggs personality type.  I took a couple of the free online tests (here, here, or you can even do one on Facebook – thanks for the link, Heather!).  Well, you know?  It was surprisingly accurate!  The more I read about my personality type, and the type of others close to me, the more I understood myself and the role I play in my community and the world.  It was truly fascinating.

I encourage you to take a look at it.  It may sound hoaky – it did to me, until a friend of mine explained it to me in detail.  The MBTI is based on solid Jungian psychology, and while it doesn’t peg you in incredible detail, I think you may find added insight into who you are.

Other ways of getting to know yourself are:  writing, reading, talking intimately with loved ones, meditating, and just giving yourself time and space to contemplate and reflect.


In case you’re curious, my type is INFJ.  We’re called “The Counselor”, “The Idealist”, “The Protector”, or “The Author”.  I am the same type as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Goethe, Chaucer, Emily Bronte, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa, and Carl Jung. Interestingly, I am supposed to be creative, artistic, good with written words, and “focused on the task of bettering the human condition.”  Hmm…

More links:  Personality Desk - Wikipedia - - Personality Page.

What do you think?

I enjoy your thoughts at least as much as you enjoy reading mine, so I welcome any thoughts you have.  And while I don’t always answer your comments, I always, always read them – usually more than once!  Thank you all for contributing so much to this site.

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19 comments to The Importance of Knowing Who We Are

  • I gave personality tests for several years and eventually stopped being surprised by how accurate the results were! I’m an ENFJ (leaning towards the I), guess that’s why I like your blog so much. :)

    I do think reflecting on who we are is very important. The better we know ourselves and what motivates us, the more effective we are at responding to the world around us (especially in crisis). Hopefully, we have more compassion for those that are different from us?

    I think that’s where so much of it comes back to education for me. Not just educating ourselves about the world around us, but also learning about who we are.

    That’s my philosophical 2 cents for the morning. Might be time for more coffee….

  • Incessantly Needing To Ponder


    Its spot on from all the descriptions I’ve seen.

  • I recently took my Myers-Briggs again and I’m also an INFJ. Like you, I found it completely spot on for me. I always find it revealing to read the descriptions of my personality because I often uncover something I knew was lurking there, but couldn’t put my finger on.

  • Now I know why I like you so much! I’m an INFJ too. Actually. I haven’t taken the test in a while, I wonder if I’ve changed. But like you and like livingmyrichlife, I found that I fit the description of an INFJ completely. I’m going to go take the test again on Facebook!

  • I totally agree. The better we know ourselves (and become comfortable with being ourselves) the better we can serve and have compassion for others. It’s easy to spend all our energy trying to “do it all.” But if we accept who we are, and all that comes with it, we can transfer all that crazy energy into something useful. As an example, I don’t do large groups well so instead of spending a lot of energy trying to be involved in everything, I concentrate my efforts on situations where I can help others one-on-one.

  • Knowing what our strengths and weaknesses are so important.

    I find I can only help make balance in the world if I have balance within myself.

    Kind Regards

  • Interesting, as I’m an ENFJ (with a slight E tendency and moderate on the other three). I wonder how many people would pick you out as the introvert and me as the extrovert…

    We took the Myers-Briggs test as a team building exercise at work, and it actually did help us understand why certain team members may react differently to the same situation. Like you, I thought the most useful part was understanding some of the underlying patterns of how I react to the world around me.

    - Lori

  • Hmmm- I am said to be an “ENFP” – The “Advocate”

    ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental.

    Excellent People Skills- I dont got them
    Experiemental- yup
    Assertive- Nope

  • Rob

    I should also add I was dissapointed there wasn’t a category called dis-gruntled Curmudgeon- I aspire to be one!

  • Disgruntled
    70% deaf
    Synaptic misfirings
    Macro able
    Micro unable
    Strong, a workhorse
    Attention seeking
    Vast storehouse of useless knowledge
    Better with animals than veggies though liking veggies better than animals
    Remarkably open to strangers emotionally — but –
    Remarkably closed to family (always working on it tho)
    Good sense of direction — but —
    Can’t find the car keys

  • Interesting – it seems there are a lot of intuitive people here! Hmm… I guess we’re all searching for answers, ways to improve ourselves and the world… Very intriguing.

    Deb G, Yes, I agree completely – education had a big impact on who I have become, and how compassionate I am.

    Kory, Ah, indeed – love that acronym – I’ll have to tell a good friend of mine who is also an INTP. : )

    livingmyrichlife, Yes, it’s sort of like a mirror – it shows you things you don’t normally see, but that you know are there…

    Kendra, I’m curious if you ended up with the same type again! I imagine so, though, as I feel a sense of permanence in our ways of thinking as INFJs….

    Heather, Yes, focussing our energy on the things we do well – great point!

    Belinda, Wise words, indeed.

    Lori, I think that’s interesting, but I also don’t think the Jung definitions of introvert and extrovert are necessarily what we conventionally think of as introverted and extroverted. … Also, according to this site, “More than other Extroverted types, [ENFJs] need time alone, away from the demands of serving and caring for others.” Though it’s interesting, too, that I wouldn’t have picked you as an ENFJ overall. Hmm. I think of you as an INTJ. Shows what I know I guess!

    Rob, Interesting. I wonder if you should take a couple of tests, to see if maybe the first time you took it, it just wasn’t right. Or, you can take a look at the definitions on the Wikipedia site, and assess your self. I’m sure if you find the right one, you’ll be able to read between the lines and find “dis-gruntled curmudgeon.” LOL.

    risa b, Sounds like you know yourself pretty well. ; )

  • Why does it always seem like everyone gets the same thing on the Internet? I’ve seen people take these tests over and over and it’s always IN[something]J. It keeps me confused.

  • It was so many years ago I have no idea if it would be the same today but I was/am an infp. Apparently not many of them are around but I happened to marry one and my mother is one too. Or we were.

  • Kristen, welcome fellow INFJ!

    Stephanie, I believe that has more to do with the types of people who read these kinds of blogs. I am the ONLY one who is an “I” or a “J” in a group of 10 people I’m working with. The test confirmed what I already knew: that I think quite differently than most of the others. It is useful information when working with that many other people!!

    Katrina, interesting that you married the same!

  • Melinda, that’s probably true. I haven’t heard much talk about the Meyers-Briggs test outside of the Internet or my mom, so I definitely have a very select group of people that I’m thinking about. I haven’t had a chance to work with a lot of people before, as someone who never much liked working with others in classes, so I guess I just don’t understand yet how knowing yourself helps you understand working with a large group of people. I just don’t know how to work with a large group of people, period.

  • You’ll learn. : ) Knowing how people think, what is important to them, and how they best communicate is extremely useful when working with a group. Especially when it comes to leadership and group brainstorming.

  • [...] or The Healer Posted by Lisa under The Basement [11] Comments  Yesterday I was reading Melinda’s post about personality types and getting to know yourself. I’ve taken Myers-Briggs personality tests before and gave the [...]

  • dneska je INFJ kdekdo…ale asi jenom tak 5% to ma potrvzeno od psychologa

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