Wednesday, April 29, 2009


so, you've maybe heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? there are a zillion different personality inventories out there. body humors. four temperaments. DiSC. lion-beaver-otter-golden-retriever. and on and on and on. i am fascinated by, and convinced that it's important to understand, ways to understand human beings' personalities. if there are at least some general trends or observations that can help me get a handle on how someone works or what tendencies s/he will have in the way s/he communicates, or makes decisions, or processes emotions and experience? hell yes, i want to know.
my favorite quote related to my life's mission is from thomas jefferson:

"i have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against all forms of tyranny over the minds of men [and women]."

for me, when i become more self-aware, without judgment, with compassion, and i am therefore able to be more present not only to myself but to others, the universe is already more healed, more whole, and more able to create good and peace and courage. my work as a teacher is to awaken other people to awareness - about themselves, mostly, and also about the world around them. to the beauty within and around them - and to the systems, or institutions, or fears, or attitudes, or machines, or paradigms, or practices, that are designed as enemies of beauty and wholeness and healing.
so, if i can know more about myself and other people? hell yes, i want to know.

i'm an ENFP. finding this out was absolutely no shock to me whatsoever.

my wife is an INFJ. when she and i read the descriptions and data around INFJ personality types, it was fascinating to see how we both opened up to what we'd always known about her, but weren't sure how to put it into words, or see it in any objective sense. INFJ is a complex personality type. but she and i have been married 25 years this coming july - and we are still learning about each other, and how to be together in healthy and healing and creative ways that enrich ourselves and each other and the world around us.

the point for me is that learning about myself and other people gives me more ability to care about them, understand them, accept them. the same goes for my self-care, self-understanding, and self-acceptance. it's all about learning and seeing. awareness. and then there's even more ability to fight against anything that tyrannizes the minds of men and women. set 'em free.

it's funny - i just realized we did, for some months this Spring and during the season of Lent, a personality-typing experience together at journey ifc.

as our therapist janettee henderson says, it's all about awareness, acceptance, and then action.
here's to awareness.


Kelly Lawson said...

great post. Thanks for challenging all of us to be more aware.

Oh-- and big congrats on the upcoming 25-year mark.


Anonymous said...

I'm an INTJ (or maybe INTP)

Meris said...

I'm an INFP... Yeah, awareness can be startling at first, but then it opens up all kinds of interesting observations about oneself...

DM said...

Here's to any system of personality analysis that isn't astrology. From now on, my birthday is "ESTJ".

Tamara said...

I'm ENFP too. I know you're completely shocked.

CP Nutcase said...

In your goal of exploring ways to better understand teh people around you, I suggest you considering reading the book, "Freakonomics, the hidden meaning behind everything" Researched and developed by a Pulitizer Award winning economist it explores why peole behave the way they do. He comes up with some interesting conclusions that I would like to hear your opinion on. You have this book since I gave you a copy a couple of years ago.