Opinion | Looking externally for internal answers

Emma Reith
Art Director
@reithemma

Astrology. The Enneagram. Meyers-Briggs. Love languages. Whatever it is, I’ll buy in. I’ve adored and had a blind faith for personality quizzes for as long as I can remember. 

When I was in fifth grade, it was all about which Hogwarts house I was in (Gryffindor, by the way). When the Hunger Games books came out, you bet I would’ve lived in District Four (I am a water sign, after all). And when it came to the Divergent franchise, I was a total Amity. 

Truly, I like to be told about the nature of myself. I love labels and I love anything that’ll lead me to ultimate self-awareness. Maybe it’s because my Moon is in Taurus (we Taurus moons love security). I battled depression in high school and, since then, began fiercely prioritizing the understanding of my own identity. When you know your tendencies and can relate to others through them, you feel a little closer to yourself. 

In my first long-term relationship, the concept of love languages helped us through an argument. I didn’t compliment him enough, he would say. But that’s because words of affirmation wasn’t my love language, so I was able to look at that and fix it for him. These apply elsewhere, too. I know my certain friends are indecisive because they are Libras, or anxious because they are Enneagram type 6’s. I can troubleshoot and adapt to their temperaments. 

These tests tell you, little by little, how you can react in times of difficulty, what you do under pressure, how you communicate and more. They tell you which people you are drawn to more closely and who you have a hard time communicating with. Labels like these often help me take care of myself. It’s like stepping out of your body and having an external view. Above anything, it makes me feel safe, like I have some objective understanding of human complexity. 

To those of you who know me this may come as a shock but, at the end of the day, I’m not certain any of this is real. I don’t absolutely believe in the stars and what they have to say, or the legitimacy of a Pottermore test. 

But if we’re all so hard-wired to appear stronger than we are, and since we show less and less vulnerability, maybe these trivial tests are simply a chance to wear some deep characteristics on your sleeve. I’d like to know if someone’s brave, anxious, helpful or what they prioritize. It shouldn’t take weeks to learn this about each other. So if these tests bring us closer, I’ll let them. After all, my Enneagram type is in the feeling triad, so I’m always looking to be vulnerable and emotionally-driven.