How do we know ourselves? Comparing versus LIKE and LOVE

How do we know ourselves? I think we tend to know ourselves by comparison. I’m shorter than my one cousin, fatter than my niece, slower than my brother, slightly worse at Maths than my best friend etc. BUT I’m also taller than another cousin, slimmer than another niece, faster than my other brother and slightly better at Maths than another friend.

And that is exactly the problem with comparing ourselves to others. There will always be somebody better than you. And there will always be somebody worse off than you. But we (OK, no: I) usually compare myself to everybody that is better than me. Usually on the days that I actually need some positive reinforcement.

I was transcribing an interview and I couldn’t quite make out what the person was saying. Something about “a ??? personality”. Of course, what do you do if you want to find out more about something? Starts with a G….?

So I googled personality types, hoping to match what I see with what I can’t quite hear … and happened on an interesting blog on the INFJ personality type:

I still don’t know what personality the interviewee was referring to, but I learned something new about my own personality type in the process.

INFJ is just one of 16 personality types according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (Did you know that Myers and Briggs were both female and that Briggs was Myers’ mother? Bit of useless information.)

Perman and Albritton discuss these 16 types in detail in their book I’m not crazy I’m just not you. The types are determined along a continuum of four dimentions:

(E) Extraverting   ENERGY                 Introverting (I)
(S) Sensing             PERCEPTION        Intuiting (N)
(T) Thinking          JUDGMENT           Feeling (F)
(J) Judging            ORIENTATION    Perceiving (P)

Can you see what the INFJ refers to?

You can find out what your personality type is here:

In any case, back to the point I was trying to make. At some point the INFJ coach advises the reader to answer a list of questions with positive declarations like “I love candy” in stead of negative declarations like “I eat to many sweets”.

Based on this positive declaration mindset, I now realise that I absolutely LOVE brownies. I LOVE fudge. I LOVE condensed milk. I also LIKE baking and making sweet stuffs. As soon as I reframed the brownies and fudge and condensed milk as positive, I took away my self-judgement. I’ve been complaining about eating too much sugary things and judging myself and feeling bad about it and not being on a diet even though my figure would surely thank me for having less to carry… Filling myself with dread because another day passed with too much sugar. So now I’m still eating too much sugar, but not feeling so bad about it? I understand your skepticism.

However, in the process, I also realised that I do not really LOVE or even LIKE the smores (melted marshmellows on Marie Biscuits) that I’ve been devouring one after the other. Also chips (crisps/potato chips). I’ve never been able to open a packet and not eat everything. But I don’t really LOVE or LIKE it. I’m just on automatic. Reminds me of a scene in the animation Ratatouille where the food critic is criticised for being so thin and that he obviously doesn’t like food. And he replies: I don’t like food. I LOVE food. And if I don’t LOVE it, I don’t swallow!

I do hope that the premise that you can’t change what you’re not aware of will proof to be true. I mean, really. If I could delete automatic intake of the smores and chips that I don’t LOVE, my hips would surely be better off?

Any way, I have started writing down the little things I like/love every day. Now instead of comparing myself to what I observe of someone else (comparing my insides to somebody else’s outsides) – and basing my self-image on how well I compare, or not – I now find comfort, pleasure and self-acceptance in my little quirks: I like “playing around” (meaning not in too much detail) with apps and software that improve my work and/or that works well. I absolutely LOVE a colourful plate of food (any plate of food looks better with a bit of green, have you noticed?). I LIKE my first cup of coffee in the morning. I LIKE Google.

For some strange reason, I feel like ending this piece with:

How much do I love thee, let me count  the ways 🙂



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. mariawayne54
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 10:54:25

    Food for thought indeed and a novel way of doing self-esteem. I love the concept because it allows clear categorisation and eases decision making in respect of almost everything.

    I will from now on categorise according to love, like, dislike, hate and loathe and live out this alternative hedonism – I LOVE Masterchef (the British one) and will now watch it without feeling guilty. And I LOATHE cooked carrots so not one more shall pass my lips. Liberty!


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