Have you ever taken one of those personality tests? You know those ones that tell you what you already know about yourself? And after you take that personality test you can slap that paper on the table in front of everyone you know and exclaim,
"SEE?! I TOLD YOU SO."
I took one of those personality tests about a year ago.
It was called StrengthsFinder.
It's an incredible personality test distributed by the scientists of the GALLUP poll & the Father of Strengths Psychology: Donald O. Clifton. This particular personality test has 34 themes that your personality can fit into. It basically gives you your top 5 personality themes that apply to you, your life, career and relationships around you. It helps you discover your natural talents and helps reveal to others around you who you are. ON PAPER. Which is awesome.
One of my top strengths is INCLUDER.
Here's what the Gallup website shares about the qualities of an INCLUDER:
"Stretch the circle wider."
This is the philosophy around which you orient your life. You want to include people and make them feel part of the group. In direct contrast to those who are drawn only to exclusive groups, you actively avoid those groups that exclude others. You want to expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support. You hate the sight of someone on the outside looking in. You want to draw them in so that they can feel the warmth of the group. You are an instinctively accepting person. Regardless of race or sex or nationality or personality or faith, you cast few judgments. Judgments can hurt a person's feelings. Why do that if you don't have to? Your accepting nature does not necessarily rest on a belief that each of us is different and that one should respect these differences. Rather, it rests on your conviction that fundamentally we are all the same.
We are all equally important. Thus, no one should be ignored. Each of us should be included. It is the least we all deserve.
When I read this I shouted to myself internally: "YES! That's what I'm talking about!"
In a way it was slightly comical to be told what I already know. But in a weird and relieving way it was refreshing to hear that it was true: how I thought, how I functioned, how I related to others.
How I functioned with those around me.
It's kind of a constant battle inside for me though. One part of me is hyper aware of everyone around me. I want to instantly include everyone I meet into my circle. I want to make them feel included. I want to bring them in.
The other part of me knows my limits. I know that I can only be stretched so far, before I reach my breaking point. It's important to point out that some people I've "included" in my circle in the past have stretched me too thin- thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread as Tolkien so delicately puts it. They've worn me out, due to the fact I want them to feel so included and apart of my circle of influence. I've had to figure out who is in my circle of influence and who is in my inner INNER circle. Thankfully; maturity & people speaking wisdom into my life have helped me realized that I only have the bandwidth of about 3 solid friends for my inner INNER circle.
There's some drawbacks of being an INCLUDER. When people meet me I get the look of (insert emoji HERE):
"Are you for REAL?"
I know there are many people out there who are INCLUDERS, but when I meet new people I sense this perception of:
no one can be this FRIENDLY.
no one could be this NICE.
I've come to terms and accepted the fact that being an includer could be an enigma to many.
But here's the deal:
I want to include you. It's for REAL.
Can I include you?
Will you be in my circle of influence?
What are your STRENGTHS?