MBTI: Why The ESFP Fear Sadness
I recently asked my viewers which personality types were the most sanguine, happy, or cheerful. ESFPs, ENFPs, ESFJs and ESTPs were some of the types that came out on top. The ESFP personality type is one that seems to truly gravitate towards light-hearted fun and joy. Able to see the positive in any situation and to entertain others. It is as if the ESFP has the belief that the only way to save the world is through laughter or a big, affectionate smile.
Because of this, other types tend to assume that ESFPs are free from problems or difficulties. And that ESFPs are somehow more happy or fulfilled than other personality types. A lot of the studies done in psychology tend to gravitate to the idea that the ESFP lifestyle is the most likely to increase one's happiness.
A person who smiles more, who is more present, and who is more active is more happy. However, I think we should separate from depth happiness and surface happiness. The two can be the same, but are not always going to be the same. Beneath the ESFP smile, there can be a deeper melancholy and fears and insecurities. So don't assume you know an ESFP based on the picture they put out to the world. ESFPs are in fact very self-revealing people, who often use humor to express their many and complex emotions.
Why The 16 Personalities ESFP Fear Hardship
The problem with the ESFPs entertaining and fun loving attitude to life is a deeper fear or insecurity when it comes to dealing with trauma, difficulty and hardship. Often, the ESFP will go on trying to laugh, smile, and cheer no matter the obstacles they face in life. There is almost an anti-perfectionism to this type, as they resist any criticism or challenge from other people. When ESFPs are questioned, they tend to lash out as they refuse to let themselves be controlled. They do not want to have their authenticity challenged. The team at Personality Hacker argue that EXXPs have a fixation with freedom. And this is for sure true even when it comes to the ESFP.
ESFPs can feel insecure over hardship. It is as if they believe that, if they stop smiling, and let themselves face the feelings of failure or disappointment they have... They might never be able to smile again. It could also be that they assume that "By being happy, and trying to be happy, I will fight against pain, and overcome it."
However, while many problems can be solved through humor, not all problems can. You may still need to catch up with problems at work or in school. You can't brush of every comment directed at you. Many ESFPs will experience the tidal wave of sadness. This is when unresolved negative emotions and sobriety comes back with a vengeance.
Discover The ESFP Tidal Wave Of Negativity
ESFPs may first choose to ignore or pretend not to see difficulties and problems in their life. It may be that they choose to stay positive even as signs of failure are starting to emerge. They may choose to ignore negatives or doubts they have about a relationship. They may have rose coloured glasses about a new opportunity, moving forward as if nothing had happened.
This is sometimes positive, as some doubts are unnecessary. We do not need to dwell on every single mistake we make. And we may still be successful even if we don't obsess over every single decision or practical obstacle we have. But if problems become too big to ignore, ESFPs may find themselves experiencing this tidal wave of sadness and negativity.
When this happens, pain and hardship becomes impossible to ignore. The ESFP becomes almost unbelievably negative. They see no positives, no sunshine, and only darkness. They become incredible sober, showing extreme realism and start to assume the worst in everyone and in every situation. It can be hard for partners and family members to deal with this lash-out, as it is so different from the norm in ESFP behaviour.
The tidal wave can occur more easily when we run out of energy or motivation. Energy and motivation helps us push on, but if we become drained, we may give in more to our inferior function. ESFPs become taken over by the grip of introverted intuition and introverted thinking. This tidal wave is however completely manageable. It gets easier if you recognise that there is a limit to pain and hardship and that problems can be resolved. Once you have screamed away anything that can be screamed away, worked away at any problems that can be worked away, and talked out any conflicts that need to be talked out, you can return to your joy, and to feeling truly you again.
Tips to managing ESFP Stress and anxiety
A good piece of advice for ESFPs is: Work through stress and anxiety by recognising early warning signs of an incoming tidal wave. Think to yourself: Oh, this is a problem. Is this problem going to become bigger if I ignore it?
Another important piece of advice is to recognise problems that need to be dealt with, and problems that can be micromanaged. Other people can help you with certain things, while some things have to be dealt with by you alone.
Some problems also do not need to be dealt with at all - and you might be able to make lifestyle changes. Have discussions in your relationship or workplace to prevent these problems from coming up over and over again. For example, tasks you dislike or struggle with can be dealt with. You can ask to be more on stage and more hands on. You can let other personality types work with planning and more back stage issues. What lifestyle changes might you benefit from at work?
Finally, in order to make sure you can truly focus on these problems, take a page from the INTJ and learn how to create a focused environment where you can take some hours to fixing problems and issues you know need to be dealt with. No worries, you'll have the rest of the day to have fun.
Discover the ESFP Personality Type
Let me know if this article helped you by writing a comment or sending an e-mail to hello[at]erikthor.com. Become a Patron to support my work.