In Touch Too Much (Or Not Enough)?
“Who am I?” “What is my purpose here?” “How can I become truly happy?” “Why do I always wake up two minutes before my alarm is supposed to go off?” These are some of the deep questions that we ask ourselves. While some people are completely content to let these questions linger (except for the alarm clock one – that is some seriously disruptive stuff), many others will contemplate them ad infinitum. This type of questioning, although deeply profound and thought-provoking, can cause many individuals to feel unsure of themselves or completely overwhelmed.
To determine what role personality type plays in psychological attunement, we asked our readers to agree or disagree with the statement, “You often feel like you are not in touch with yourself.”
The results showed some remarkable differences between various personality aspects. Specifically, Identity was a key player in how people responded. Turbulent types were significantly more likely than Assertive types to agree that they feel out of touch with themselves (57% versus 22% agreeing, respectively). Another important component in our readers’ responses was Energy, with 51% of Intuitive types agreeing, compared to only 33% of Observant types.
Let’s get in touch with the results in further detail below.
Analysts and Diplomats (51% each agreeing)
The realm of ideas can be a lonely place, something that is well known to Intuitive Analysts and Diplomats. While their imaginations can provide a significant amount of inspiration, they can also lead these personality types to engage in an obsessive pattern of questioning everything, which results in a whole lot of uncertainty. Since Intuitive types tend to live in a world of possibility and imagination, there can sometimes be a disconnect between what they are thinking about and the reality of what they are actually feeling or experiencing.
Explorers were significantly less likely to feel as though they are not in touch with themselves, which is due predominantly to their Observant trait. These personality types live in the moment and focus a majority of their energy on interacting with and observing the world around them. They do not live in their heads, as Intuitive types do, and instead focus on experiencing the world through their senses. It is difficult to second-guess yourself when you’re constantly living in the moment, and Explorers tend to do just that.
The least likely types to feel out of touch with themselves, Sentinels gain a tremendous amount of certainty from their Observant and Judging personality traits. Security and stability are paramount for Sentinels, and once they have decided on a course of action, they rarely falter. Their tendencies to focus on the present and always go by the book leave little room for doubt or questioning. As long as things are going according to plan, Sentinels are confident and self-assured.
Constant Improvement (62% agreeing)
As Introverted and Turbulent personalities, Constant Improvers are perfectionists who are more prone to experiencing periods of self-doubt than their Assertive peers. This lack of confidence may make them feel out of touch, which can result in emotional turmoil. Feelings are more intense for Turbulent types, and Introverts tend to require more time to recover from overwhelming emotions or situations than Extraverted types.
While Introverted personalities are often considered to be more focused on their internal world, this does not necessarily mean that they are always in touch with themselves. If not given the opportunity to recharge or balance themselves, Constant Improvers can succumb to both mental and emotional exhaustion.
Turbulent Logicians (INTP-T) – the personality type with the highest rate of agreement, at 71% – are especially vulnerable to feeling out of touch. As Intuitive, intellectual, and innovative personalities, Logicians spend a substantial amount of time and energy participating in a society where they don’t always feel understood, which can result in lower self-esteem and self-understanding.
Turbulent Logicians are prone to experiencing emotional extremes, and their Thinking trait can make it all the more difficult for them to understand and express these emotions appropriately. This can result in a lack of both self-awareness and empathy. There are some situations that Logicians just can’t logic their way out of, especially when emotions are involved. Often both intelligent and a bit eccentric, these personalities can come across as unstable or temperamental to those on the receiving end of their emotional outbursts. All these factors combined can produce tremendous amounts of uncertainty.
Social Engagement (51%)
Just over half of Social Engagers agreed that they often feel out of touch with themselves – a neutral result overall, although Intuitive and Thinking members of this Strategy agreed at higher rates.
As Extraverted, Turbulent personality types, Social Engagers are constantly striving for perfection in all areas of their lives. While some of their ambition may relate to personal goals, these individuals are also susceptible to the influence of others, as they tend to place great importance on how other people view them. Success, for this type, is just as much about achieving goals as it is about impressing people. It may be the case that their sense of self is constantly in flux, as they try to determine how others’ opinions of them may be changing or evolving in any given moment.
Confident Individualism (26%)
The Assertive Identity plays a considerable role in the self-assurance that characterizes Confident Individualists. Being unconcerned about the opinions of others gives these Introverted personality types the freedom to do as they wish without trying to meet external expectations. This psychological freedom to do as they please without attaching their self-esteem to the outcomes of their actions gives Confident Individualists an enormous amount of confidence. And although, as Introverts, they like to have time to themselves, they probably don’t use much of that alone time for deep, personal reflection on who they are or where their lives are going.
People Mastery (20%)
People Masters are Extraverted, Assertive personalities who are very confident and self-assured. Being “masters of people,” they are keenly attuned to those around them and are well-spoken, charismatic individuals. People Masters have strong opinions and beliefs and do not hesitate to share them with others.
Focusing most of their energy on their external environment, these personalities are unconcerned with how others view them and tend to care more about achieving their personal goals than meeting other people’s expectations. That said, in times of self-doubt or emotional distress, People Masters are comfortable seeking support from those around them, resulting in a generally more grounded and stable sense of self.
More than any other personality type, Assertive Consuls (ESFJ-A) demonstrated that they feel incredibly in touch with themselves, with only 11% admitting that they often are not. Confident Consuls can be very altruistic, compassionate individuals, devoting themselves to meeting the needs of friends, family, coworkers, and community members. Overly confident Consuls can become overbearing and judgmental. Walking the Assertiveness tightrope is important for maintaining a proper balance between extremes.
As Extraverts, Consuls have another advantage, because they nurture strong social networks that they can fall back on when they’re feeling overwhelmed, preventing them from feeling too out of touch with themselves. There is a danger that people with this personality type can become too dependent upon the support of others, which may lead to periods of self-doubt and confusion. But this appears to be relatively rare for the sociable and usually well-liked Consuls.
Being in touch with yourself does not mean having all of the answers to life’s big questions. What it really entails is being aware of your strengths and weaknesses and how to balance them to live your best life. Every personality type (and every individual) has their own set of aptitudes and challenges, and it’s up to each of us to be cognizant of them.
Turbulent personality types are less confident and more dependent upon the opinions of others, something they can overcome by listing out their personal goals. For example, if you could do whatever you wanted and nobody else cared, what would you do? Write whatever comes to mind, then go back and check your list. What’s keeping you from doing those things? Are you afraid of failure? That’s human nature. Failure is a risk that you took; regret is a risk that you didn’t take.
Intuitive personalities struggle at times to keep their feet on the ground (or rather, their minds out of the clouds). Their tendency to focus on ideas, and to second-guess those ideas, leads to a never-ending cycle of doubt. It’s certainly a wonderful thing to generate ideas, and it’s also wonderful to take ownership of them. What’s the worst thing that could happen if your idea, theory, or concept were incorrect or didn’t work? You can always use that beautiful brain of yours to get back out there and generate a thousand new ideas.
Feeling out of touch with yourself can be trying, frustrating, and even depressing. Taking the time to figure out what might be causing your disconnect will inevitably lead to more questions, but the answers will be incredibly fulfilling. Feel free to ask yourself one last question: What’s standing in the way of my happiness? The answers will enlighten and, hopefully, motivate you. And that’s one less question to worry about.
In what ways do you think your personality type influences how in touch you feel with yourself? Let us know in the comments below!