Tag Archives: personality

Mother Teresa and Hitler: What They Had in Common and What They Didn’t!

 

Mother Teresa and Hitler

On September 4, 2016 Mother Teresa was canonized as a Saint within the Roman Catholic church by Pope Francis. In the days leading up to this event there were many media articles written about Mother Teresa, some positive, some negative, and a few neutral. The comments section is where I was surprised by the volume of negative opinions and thoughts about the woman herself, her work, and her worthiness for canonization.

I’m not surprised there are people who are still angry at the historical atrocities committed by the Roman Catholic Church, I can’t fault these people for being angry, but I can’t point fingers at the Catholic Church without pointing fingers at my own denomination; they are equally as guilty for causing much historical harm to society, and colonized many nations and cultures around the world.

In reading about Mother Teresa I came to find out that she is classified as a Meyer’s Brigg’s INFJ. This personality type is described as the following:

INFJs indeed share a very unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – INFJs will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance.” Personality.com

[INFJ’s] have an exceptionally strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others, and find great personal fulfillment interacting with people, nurturing their personal development, guiding them to realize their human potential.” Kiersy.com

These traits sound like the description and work of Mother Teresa. When I was reading about her personality temperament, I also learned about another INFJ; Adolf Hitler. Surprising isn’t it? At first I thought there had to be a mistake; how could two people who seem to be complete opposites share the same personality type?

After reviewing the weaknesses of the INFJ type, I had a better understanding how an INFJ such as Adolf Hitler can behave in an evil manner.

infj-rage

The weaknesses of INFJ’s are: Sensitivity, intense need for privacy, perfectionist, always needing to have a “cause”, and an increased potential for burnout. (Source: personality.com)

Personalitypage.com further explains the unhealthy part of the INFJ nature:

“They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress. …Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubbornness and tendency to ignore other people’s opinions.”

Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses, and as you can see, the INFJ weaknesses can be extremely opposite to their strengths. Mother Teresa used her strengths for doing what she believed to be the work of God. She believed she was called to be with the suffering and those in poverty. She did not believe that anyone should die alone and unloved.

In order to achieve her vision and goals, I’m sure she had to be strong willed, decisive, and determined. Being an INFJ things could have easily gone wrong. She could have easily channeled her negative side and caused the world turmoil. Her opposite was Adolf Hitler who operated from the negative traits of the INFJ. He was stuck in the unhealthy state of mind of an INFJ. Hitler trusted his own instincts, and focused on his own selfish goals; believing that they were right. Trust is difficult for the INFJ, and it is known that Hitler did not trust very many people.  It’s a difficult concept to accept, but somewhere in his disturbed mind, he believed he was doing the human race something good. We know his evilness resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

I am an INFJ, I am also a 6 in the Enneagram. Guess who else is a 6? You guessed it, Hitler. I was upset to read this, but again, after reading the descriptions for these temperaments, I wasn’t surprised.

Sixes on the Enneagram have security as their main motivation in life, “Key Motivations: Want to have security, to feel supported by others, to have certitude and reassurance, to test the attitudes of others toward them, to fight against anxiety and insecurity” (Enneagram Institute).

Hitler needed security. He was described as being insecure. His idea of security was to create a nation where he is in charge and anyone he doesn’t like or believe is worthy of life is killed. His security came at the expense of other people’s lives.

I took a few deep breathes and assured myself that I was nothing like Hitler. I don’t believe in taking people’s lives or violating the human rights of others. I believe in security for myself, others, and society, but there’s a wrong and a right way to go about achieving this.

These extremes within the same personality type reminded me of the importance of having God in my life and the teachings of Jesus. I was reminded that despite having a certain type of personality or temperament, I still have to do the work to build a healthy character. Whatever I do must be covered in love, compassion, and understanding.

Fruit of the Spirit

We see and hear about the fruit of the spirit so much that I think we as believers don’t take it seriously enough. If we take godly character development seriously, we will be less likely to gravitate towards the toxic and unhealthy parts of our personality traits. The difference between Mother Teresa and Hitler was this: she was about serving others and loving people in the name of God, she never lost sight of this. Hitler on the other hand, was selfish, everything he did was to make himself great, even if it cost millions of people their lives. They were both INFJ’s, they both had a vision, and they each fulfilled their goals with very different results.

Regardless of your personality trait or temperament; be sure that you are operating from a place of God’s love, mercy, and grace.

Question:

What are your worst personality or temperament traits?

Reflection:

Pray and ask God to help you grow in your strengths and decrease in your weaknesses so that you can be the best of what God created you to be.

Patience_Anger_Wrath

 

 

The Blessing of: Introvert Faith

Thank You!
Thank You!

One Word 365

MyOneWord.org

My One Word for 2014: Blessing

Yeah, for Introverts!

In dealing with the Evangelical Christian community, I’ve had to let people know that I am an introvert and I don’t need to change. If the church can’t find a way to include those of us who have introvert personalities then I don’t feel the need to change who I am in order to fit into Christian church culture. Jesus, as described in the Gospels, is an introvert. If he didn’t feel the need to change, then I take that as a sign that being an introvert is alright with God.

Being an introvert isn’t a sin or a character flaw. Instead of pressuring those who need to have alone time in order to refuel; respect them enough to let them be who they are and literally, leave them alone when they want to be away from the noise and the crowds.

Yes... we exist :)
Yes… we exist 🙂

Here are a few ways to let Introverts be at peace Introverting:

-Don’t force them to pray out loud. A silent prayer is equally as effective as a spoken one.

-In small groups they might not always answer right away. There are times when they prefer to ponder questions and answers internally.

-If you ask, “How are you?” and they answer “Fine.”, it’s alright. If they choose not to tell a group of people how they are doing, don’t take it personally, forcing a lengthier answer only makes an Introvert uncomfortable.

-For some introverts, stranger evangelism is extremely uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to share the “good news”; what it means is that they are more authentic and relational doing so with people that they connect with. For introverts, evangelism often requires a more personal method.

-Journaling is a form of quiet time that a lot of introverts engage in. Pen and paper is a style of meditation where their deepest thoughts and reflections are written. Part of the joy in journaling is that anywhere you are becomes sacred space as you shut out the world and spend time with God.

-Don’t expect Introverts to have a definite answer to some of the most pressing questions of faith. Because introverts tend to be deep thinkers, they don’t always like to have answers to spiritual questions. It isn’t their goal to have the mysteries of the faith answered. They find solace in not having to know the answer to every question humankind has posed to God.

introvert recharge

Whether extrovert or introvert, it’s important to remember that God has made us all with different personality types. One type is not better or worse than the other, they are all simply different. Our relationship with God is going to look different for each of us because our personality types influence how we view, worship, and communicate with God. We worship one who has enough love to accept us and see the good in each personality type. God doesn’t want us to develop the negative aspects of our temperament, so therefore His Spirit is with us to help develop the healthy personality traits which lead to a more Christ-like character.

QUESTIONS: 

  • Are you an extrovert or an introvert? (This means you lean more towards one side of the extrovert-introvert scale than the other.)
  • How do you react towards introverting introverts? (Do you take it personally when they turn down your invites? Do you expect them to always share what’s on their mind? Do you try to force them to be more extroverted?)
  • Have you been able to recognize the spiritual gifts, talents and contributions that Introverts contribute to the Christian community?

APPLICATION:

  • If you have a difficult time understanding Introverts, ask God to help you be more aware of the traits of other personality types. Not for the purpose of changing them or judging them, but instead, for the purpose of loving them as they are and seeing their value.
  • If you struggle with accepting your personality type, ask God to help you be at peace with the temperament you were born with. If the negative traits of your personality type are causing trouble in your walk of faith and in relationships with others; ask God to help you be aware of the issues and make changes that will develop the positive aspects of your temperament.

 

There's a spectrum
There’s a spectrum