This May, I became fascinated with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I can’t remember exactly what prompted my investigation, but I am hooked. I completed two different online tests and came up as INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perception) – both times. Most of this came as no surprise, as I have mentioned multiple times here, I am an introvert and I operate purely on gut instinct based on all the feelings. However, after reading about the Perception part as opposed to J for Judgement, I began to question that P designation. Simply put, the distinction is that Js are punctual, and don’t like clutter, which does describe me.
I am surprised by the allure of this particular analysis. Every time I have brought it up in casual conversation, the other person (including my mother) has said, something like, yes, I have done that and I am ____, proudly listing their four-letter designation. On Monday, my sister and I were in her car headed to Lowes to pick up more mulch for her garden, and we started discussing the Myers- Briggs test. My niece is studying psychology and has done the test with her. She is an INFJ and immediately questioned how on the surface the two of us seem polar opposite, but, yet, could be the same personality type. I reminded her that underneath it all, we are really very similar. We are both introverts (me more than her), and we are both empaths - pulling in the energy and emotions of others.
Later that evening, my niece opened the Myers Briggs test that she used in class and had me complete it. I read the questions and answers on her computer, while she wrote down my responses. Her test confirmed that I, indeed, am an INFP, along with 4% of the population.
Obviously, the question that begs to be asked is: why do I care? I think a large part of my quest is informed by my desire to unravel the many contradictions that I see in my personality. I am an introvert, yet I purposely chose to place myself in the path of people. I am outwardly confident, strong, and determined, at the same time I am internally vulnerable and self-conscious. I like to be proactive and solve problems, but I don’t (can’t) use logical or analytical processes. I tap into the feelings they bring up in me, instead, and use my intuition and creativity to develop a variety of solutions.
The other piece is my desire to get to know how and why others behave in the ways they do. I am endlessly curious about, and, to be honest, a bit frustrated by those who are my complete opposite. It sometimes confounds me how some people can make decisions dispassionately based on data, numbers, and reasoning; it all seems so clinical, objective, and unfeeling. Which is why I have to remind myself, constantly, “oh, yeah, right - that’s the point!”
The human race needs the full complement of all sixteen Myers Briggs archetypes working together to make the world a better place. We need the extroverted peeps to keep the party going, as much as we need the introverted folks to stay at home taking care of themselves so they can use their gifts for the greater good. Those analytical statisticians and logisticians are the ones who make sure the data is accessible to all of us. The empaths are the people who take in all the pain and send out pure love. And, of course, we need the artsy, imaginative, and explorative folks who are, quite literally, envisioning and actively creating our future.
Thank goodness we are all perfectly unique, with an abundance of innate strengths and weaknesses. I can only hope that as more people become attuned to their own personality traits - that we are able to smash down the barriers (and hatred) created by polarization and pigeonholing to replace them with openness, compassion, and acceptance by recognizing the importance of honoring and celebrating them all.
My travels included the annual Liberated Learners conference last weekend at North Star in the Pioneer Valley in western MA. As always, I came away from the weekend with all my LL peeps re-energized and inspired to begin another year at DRC.
Liberated Learners, the network that DRC is a member of, is hiring a part-time social media manager to kick-start our growth and recognition factor throughout the world. Check out the official job posting here.
I am extending my summer adventures through July 5th. Please get in touch if you would like to schedule an appointment this summer. I will be available the remainder of July and August.
Don’t forget to register your child for our summer programs the last two weeks of August.
MMA Opportunity – Christopher Raymo, DRC’s Seedlings Coordinator and founder of Offensive Defensive Academy (ODA), is offering MMA classes every Friday at Deep Root Center. Check it out.