As a process-oriented person, it’s interesting to me how each of us responds to crises—or everyday challenges or confrontation or relationships or…so on. I don’t look at process first; it’s more about looking at a person in the context of the process.
I don’t like to pigeon-hole people, which is why it’s challenging for me to firmly identify personality types through an assessment. The evaluation can be helpful if used as a tool, but it’s limited. We can become locked into it so that we limit what we think we’re capable of—both good and bad. We can falsely assume things about others when we try to tie them to a specific type. Knowing types is a tool but not a rule.
The COVID-19 crisis reveals this, as people surprise us with their responses. Perhaps we even surprise ourselves at times. Someone who is usually calm has become more anxious. Someone who follows the rules decides to set them aside, and someone who generally pushes boundaries determines the reasons for these guidelines are too important to overlook. Someone who struggles to be alone creatively and bravely connects with others. Someone usually self-focused considers others more. Courage displaces fear, and vice versa. Rights displace selflessness, or generosity displaces self-sufficiency.
Sometimes what you expect is confirmed or expanded. The person who thinks of others continues to raise concerns and needs of others. The person who wants control continues to cry out when anything infringes on his or her preferred way of doing things. People who tend toward fear begin to be consumed by it. People who apply common sense seem to roll with each shift.
This crisis has definitely revealed some things in each of us. While we’re gaining more knowledge and tools every day, we are still in the middle of it all. Some of us will use others’ responses to argue and demand; others will use others’ responses to listen and help (or at least try).
Take a deep breath, then reflect on your own response. Consider what annoys you. Consider what stirs compassion in you. Become familiar with what situations set a fire under you. Get to know what you tend to push back from and what you’re drawing closer. Then evaluate if that’s where you want to be.
Each of us is growing in this unusual season, but what are we growing—kindness, generosity, resentment, bitterness? What kind of fruit will we produce as we come through it all?
Now is the time to shift if needed.