87. SARAH TUHORO – The Importance of Personality Types for Self-Awareness, Communication and Fulfilling Your Potential


87. SARAH TUHORO – The Importance of Personality Types for Self-Awareness, Communication and Fulfilling Your Potential

Personality: The unique patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that distinguish a person from others.

Have you ever questioned the way certain people make decisions, or say the things they do? Or maybe you’ve wondered why people just don’t get you.

Cue in Personality Theory. Today on the show I chat with my good friend and Personality Typing expert, Sarah Tuhoro on all things personality types. We discuss why it matters to understand your own personality type and how that will help you in your work, life and relationships.

Sarah breaks down how personality typing can help you understand:

  • Why you do and say the things you do
  • Your preferred style of communicating
  • How you make decisions.
  • How to leverage your strengths and build on your weaknesses for greater success
  • How understanding yourself will help you understand others

Honouring and embracing your individuality by understanding your personality type will help to bring you greater self-awareness, self-acceptance and the space to accept and embrace others for who they are.

A Journey Towards Better Self-Understanding

Jackie 3:03
Let’s dive straight into this episode with Sara Tuhoro Personality Typing. I, whilst I kind of had heard of it in the past, I’d never heard of it or understood it in a way that you explain it to me. And I’ve learned more about myself. In the past four or five weeks, however long we’ve been doing this, then I have my entire life. And things make sense to me now. Why I do things or say things, why other people say or do things and I’m a lot more patient? Yes, I feel like I’ve always been patient. But there’s more, there’s more of an understanding of why people say or do the things they do. And there’s certainly more empathy there. Whereas in the past, I would have just been like, Oh, what a dick. Why would you say it like that, like? So now I have a better understanding. And I think this is super important for every single person on the planet to know because I think they would create a whole lot more understanding and harmony in the world. We’re getting there. We’re well, we’re gonna start anyway. Anyway, but I guess what I’m interested first in knowing is how did your journey begin in this?

Sarah 4:42
Journey? Um, well, I think it started before I knew anything about personality theory. S–and this is indicative of my personality type. I’ve kind of gone through my entire life with a chip on my shoulder, about people not understanding me. And so I spent a long time trying to understand myself so that I could better understand other people, and I guess subconsciously, engineer ways of connecting w]ith people because interactions were just falling flat. And I felt really bad even, I just felt like I couldn’t be accepted for me because no one knew who I was. And so much of me is internal. And I don’t know how to get that out. And I’m still working on that. And so then I met someone who was really into personality theory. And they led me down the rabbit hole. And they just gave me probably the most helpful framework to date, in terms of trying to understand myself and how I relate to other people. And so as soon as I realised that, like, I’ve known for a while that language is everything, if you don’t have the language to describe something, then you can’t communicate it, and it’ll never be expressed. And so personality theory gave me a framework to start expressing to other people, this is, who I am and how I operate, what motivates me and why I do the things I do. And also, this is what I’m really good at, which is very invisible. Um, and then it also gave me the language to understand how other people differ from that. So the journey has just been a process of teasing it all apart. And yeah, there’s still so much to learn. But yeah, I guess that’s where I’m up to.

Eight Cognitive Functions Framework: Understanding Your Personality

Jackie 6:35
So you say framework? What is the framework?

Sarah 6:41
What is the framework? Well, one of my things about one of the things about my personality is I find it really hard to describe things in a linear way. So I’ll do my best. But the framework can probably be most closely related to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator MBTI. For people who know what that is, but I guess what they don’t do, what Myers Briggs doesn’t do, is delve into the eight cognitive functions, which as you would know, is like the juice, that’s where the understanding is. And so, the MBTI gives us these broad, generalised sort of statements about how people are or why people do the things that they do. Whereas the eight cognitive functions, which comes from Carl Jung forever ago, it kind of really breaks things down and allows you to explore the nuances of personality. So, there are eight cognitive functions. And I’m gonna try really hard with this. And we all have all of them, but we preference them in a different order. So they are Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Thinking, Introverted Feeling, Extraverted Feeling, Introverted Sensing, Extroverted Sensing, and Introverted Intuition, and Extroverted Intuition. So we all possess all eight functions, but the order that we preference them in and the ones that were stronger and weaker out, completely change the way that we express ourselves and cognitively process information, basically, in its most basic form,

Jackie 8:28
Which blows my mind because I’ve done the MBTI. And yeah, whilst that gives you a nice little breakdown, it’s given me nothing in comparison to understanding myself and others. When I learn about the cognitive functions, I’m still learning, I really haven’t gotten a good grasp of it. So in terms of where to go now to make this accessible and understandable for listeners, from this, what would you say, like, superficially, is the best thing to know about this?

Sarah 9:17
Um, I think you really just have to go on your own journey and dive into your own rabbit hole. I mean, obviously, there’s personality tests all over the internet. They are, you know, various kinds of reliable or unreliable.

Jackie 9:39
Well, they’re mostly unreliable, right? Yeah.

Sarah 9:41
Yeah, I’m not and it’s not even just the test themselves. The way we perceive ourselves is sometimes completely different from the way that we are, but also what we’re best at and worst at, we’re generally most unconscious of. So when you’re answering these questions in these personality tests, you are blind to the thing that you should, quote unquote, score highest on. And then the thing that you should score lowest on. And so the test won’t always capture that. So I guess in an ideal world, you will get tapped in person. But it depends if you have access to that. But otherwise, I think it’s about, you know, the same as any thing that relates to self awareness is going on a bit of a journey and figuring out, okay, what resonates with me what doesn’t, and eventually, you’ll go through a process of elimination, and you’ll observe these things in yourself. And then you’ll be able to work out sort of what resonates, and what doesn’t.

How Our Perception Of Ourselves Influences Our Ability To Learn And Grow

Jackie 10:48
How we perceive ourselves. This has only come to light for me in terms of, I’m trying, I’m learning more about this, and trying to work with people and trying to type and test them. And it’s been an interesting journey in the sense that, obviously, I’m not yet good at this, where you come in to help me, but getting them will do the interview, but also getting them to do the test. And sometimes, it’s completely skewed and different. And so can you break down a little bit more, how that differs, when our perception of ourselves kind of takes over?

Sarah 11:45
Well, there’s two layers to that. So I’m not sure if you’ve heard of, like, the Johari Window. So there’s your open self known to self known to others. The blind self, not known to self not known to others, the Hidden Self, known to self not known to others, and an unknown self, which isn’t known to you or anyone else. So–

Jackie 12:09
How do we know it exists, then?

Sarah 12:11
We don’t. So how are you supposed to capture it on the personality questionnaire? You can’t. So yes, there’s obviously the layer that says, I cannot report on a questionnaire what I don’t know about myself. But then there is another layer where we get our ego invested in what the question is asking us. So if the question says something super generic, like I care about others, who’s gonna answer no to that? And so what it’s trying to get at is it’s trying to look at how highly you would score on the function of extroverted feeling. But, you know, and 16 types of preference, I mean, sorry, eight of the 16 types, preference Extroverted Feeling, and eight preference Introverted Feeling, and they’re trying to work out which one you are, but that question is, one, horrible at capturing that data and to those questions are really confronting, and if you can’t be honest with yourself and say, or even know, the answer to the question, then, you know, obviously, it’s not going to get captured. But also the question is faulty, because both introverted feelers and extroverted feelers care about people, but how they show that care is completely different. So yeah, I mean, I think the question is just don’t do a good job of capturing all the nuances through terrible question asking, but then also, we don’t know ourselves as well as we would like to.

Breaking Through Apprehension To Understand Ourselves Better

Jackie 13:44
Getting to know ourselves. I–when, when you first–when we first sort of got into this, I just say, I was a little apprehensive. Which is funny now that I look back on it, because you could see right through that and see, you could see me and yeah, I thought I was able to–I don’t know just I thought that if you did the test on me, that would mean you would see into my soul and everything would be revealed. But the funny thing was the fact that like we didn’t really like the more you got to know me, the more you–I was anyways, didn’t really matter. But in terms of the people who go–well, I don’t think I want you to know about me or who I am like that vulnerability and that apprehension around that. Can we break that down a bit? Because I think self-awareness is so important to our growth and to I mean, everything, our relationships and the way we communicate with others. So how do we get past that? And what can you say to those who are maybe a little apprehensive in doing this for themselves?

Sarah 15:11
I would say I can see you anyway.

Jackie 15:14
I–hilarious thing right now, that I know a little bit more about it. That’s like, there’s nothing you can say or do.

Sarah 15:22
Yeah, it’s hilarious. Because, you know, when we go into organisations, you know, I’ve heard people say things to their colleagues, like, oh, it was a bad day, I don’t know, if they’re gonna be able to capture my result. Like, it doesn’t matter. The things that, telltale signs of your cognitive functions, your personality traits, and how you preference those, is so unconscious, and so woven into who you are, that you can’t not do it. It’s just, you know, to someone who knows what they’re looking for, it’s just visible. And I guess, you know, if it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. But for me, the one of the key motivators for exploring this is I believe that humans are inherently good. I believe everyone is perfect, just as they are. You know, the core self before all the layers of bullshit that cloud our judgement and get in the way of us being good humans, I think, at our core, we are good. And everyone is perfect, just as they are. And I think sometimes people drive us nuts. Because, you know, it’s written in our personality types, that those two are gonna clash, and it wouldn’t matter what happened, or the conversations that were had, some people are just going to grate on us. And so I think personality theory gives me the tools to be able to bring awareness to that and say, okay, is this person annoying me because they’re doing something wrong? Or are they annoying me? Because that’s just how they are? And either, you know, our personality types just clash, or there’s some sort of clash of values? And do I need to change them or berate them for that? Or can I just accept that that’s the case, and move on. And if I decide not to move on, because I want to build a connection and a relationship with this person. How can I meet them where they’re at? And so often, as humans, we have this, I think, this subconscious programming in the background that says about other people. If I could just change this about them, then X Y, Z, and I would feel better, then our relationship would be better. You know, whatever that is, and we’re so unconscious of our desire to change people. But I have this desire now, after spending much time trying to change people unsuccessfully. And that didn’t lead to a lot of fulfilment and happiness for either this desire to go, Okay, this is who they are. This is where they’re at right now. How can I come to you and meet you there and still connect? Even though both of us are, you know, perfectly imperfect and completely flawed? How can we still build a connection, build intimacy and have a functional relationship without trying to change each other?

Jackie 18:17
You said you think everyone is perfect at the core itself?

Sarah 18:27
Yeah, I mean, let’s pull apart what you mean by perfect first of all,

Jackie 18:32
you know, okay, I think, perfect me.

Sarah 18:35
And I don’t mean, we’re never going to make mistakes. I guess what I mean, is by design, we are all as we should be.

Jackie 18:41
Ynes. So we’re perfectly ourselves. Yes. Whatever that’s meant to be.

Sarah 18:45
Yeah, whatever that is, and know that that doesn’t mean that anyone’s capable of perfection

How Personality Types Are Influenced By Our Conditioning, Past Experiences, and Trauma

Jackie 18:51
Sure. So at what point, even if we know someone’s personality type, at what point do our condition–does our conditioning, our past experiences, trauma, play a role in how we present face on our personality type?

Sarah 19:18
Honestly, I haven’t fully teased apart trauma and personality. So I can’t give you a solid answer on that. What I can say is before discovering personality type, I was very heavily invested in the concept of trauma and believed that trauma shaped absolutely everything that we do. And that’s like big T trauma and little T trauma. And so I was kind of using trauma as the framework to understand people. Oh, they’re doing this, this must have happened when they were a child. Oh, they were doing this. This must have happened when they were a child. And what was hilarious was when I discovered personality theory, it outlines some of these traits and behaviours. And I thought, okay, so this behaviour or this trait can actually be attributed to a cognitive function. So, like, does trauma matter at all? And so I kind of had this epiphany that psychology can be extremely pathologizing. And when we delve into self awareness, and we learn about the impact of trauma, that sometimes we can get a little hyper-fixated on it, and start to look for it and people when in reality, the way that your personality forms makes you predisposed to experiencing things. particular things as traumatic and I’m mainly referring to little T trauma, not big shock, if that makes sense.

Jackie 20:53

Sarah 20:55
But for example, my sister and I have two different–very different personality types. And because of that, we may experience the same event or interaction, but one of us will find that traumatic and the other won’t, and that’s because of how we perceive the world and process the data that’s coming at us. So I haven’t–I don’t fully have an answer. And I haven’t fully come to grips with the impact and the interweaving of personality and trauma. But I know that I am no longer content, continually pathologizing people and looking at them through a lens of trauma, because I could never know, for one. And two, it’s not that helpful, like trauma is something that you really have to sort of delve into and address on your own. And I can’t really connect with you in that experience, but I can connect with you at the level of the personality. And so that’s kind of what I pursue as the framework to understand now.

Uncovering the Truth Behind Personality Clashes And How to Deal With Them

Jackie 21:52
Well, let’s then go into personality clashing. That sounds fun. So how do we know–I mean, could you just put it down, a personality clashing? All of the time? I don’t get along with this person. It’s because our personalities clash. I don’t like what they’ve said, our personalities clash. I don’t like what they do, or what they put up on social media. It must be because our personalities clash. Is this what it comes down to?

Sarah 22:26
I think that, you know, there are lots of different facets within the personality that can clash. So your cognitive functions can clash. We also–the 16 types is broken down into four temperaments. So temperaments are known to clash, we also look at the interaction styles. So how you interact can clash. So it absolutely can be the case. But my experience is, instead of just writing it off, as a personality clash, if you delve deeper, and work out why you’re clashing, and become aware of it, and conscious of the way that you interact with each other, then it can absolutely be overcome. So, for example, a really trivial example is the person that introduced me to personality theory, was talking about how he gets really annoyed, and like he thinks it’s really comical, that people travelled to work on those electric scooters in the city, because he’s like, you know, I’m walking along and I’m beating you because you have to stop at every traffic, like anyway, it’s inefficient. So why would you even bother. And being on a scooter is being imprisoned in the physical world, which is extroverted sensing. And he has an extroverted sensing blind spot, which is kind of self explanatory. So it didn’t even cross his mind that perhaps people just enjoy the experience of having the wind in your hair and going for a little zoom. And his personality type is really about efficiency, and doing things in the most logical and efficient way as possible. So to him that made absolutely no sense. But to someone with high extroverted sensing, it would have made all the sense in the world. And sometimes it’s that simple. And you know, I pointed that out to him. And he was like, yeah, oh, I suppose I never thought of it that way. And that’s probably the line that comes up most art I never thought of that way. Well, they–yeah, because you’re too busy looking at the world through your own lens. Instead of trying to understand other people’s experience of life.

This is Part 1 of Personality Typing with Sarah. Tune into the next episode coming up in a few week’s time where we will announce some exciting news and give you the chance to get typed by Sarah!

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