We can’t escape ourselves….

We’re always looking through the lens of our type. Although we may value personal growth, we are so used to looking through our type that we often can’t see around it.

I do a lot of training. Have you noticed how excited intuitives get about the topic of type? How they get involved in the idea of it and want to learn more and more?  How sensing types like type for its utility – what it helps them get done? How feeling types want to use type to improve their relationships or want to find out how it can be used to help others? Or how thinking types tease apart the accuracy of the idea and focus on the effectiveness of the instrument, the model or the training?  To type knowledgeable people, there is no news in any of this.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not making subtle distinctions between the extraverted and introverted forms of a function and plead your indulgence as I attempt to make my point.  ;)

We are so immersed in our style that it’s natural for new learnings to get pulled into that worldview.

Including how to approach type development.

So it’s always interesting when an intuitive type talks about how they are “working on their sensing” - and they tell me they’re doing it by using active imagination and dreamwork. Or how a sensing type says they are “working on their intuition” by doing some step-by-step creative craftwork. How a feeling type “works” on their thinking by asking others how well – or if they like – how the person is using their thinking.  Or how a thinking type says they’ve conceptually distilled the elements of feeling and have a strategy to find the best emotional intelligence training program.  Eye rolls are appropriate for all of these.

Funny isn’t it? By the way, I am extremely prone to this myself.

So let’s try to remind ourselves….. You work on sensing by doing sensing things – directly – by touching, noticing, being in your body, stimulating your senses, recalling facts, implementing, and so on. You work on feeling by doing feeling things – directly – by connecting, empathizing, demonstrating warmth, tuning in to what you care about and how you feel about something, and so on.  You work on thinking by actually analyzing in an impersonal way the costs/benefits of different courses of action, critiquing someone’s performance, and by solving logical problems. You work on intuition by actually generating symbols/metaphors to represent events in your life, by brainstorming many possible approaches to an issue, and by imagining “what if” scenarios.

It’s funny and ironic isn’t it? Sometimes a “change” becomes “more of the same.”

 It’s probably a good thing to honor this in ourselves. We need to appreciate how our approach has supported us in our lives and brought us many benefits. How approaching our nonpreferences first through our preferences is natural and appropriate. And we need, as well, to laugh gently at our persistence in doing the same things over and over – even though we recognize we need to do something differently.  And then too, it seems important to find a way to “peer into the gaps” in and between our typical way of doing things.

In fact, I’m pretty sure this post itself is an example of what I’m talking about. After all, haven’t I noted in a previous post how I’m tired of trying to understand things in my life and I’m more interested in just experiencing them?  And yet, I continue to write about this topic. Hmm?


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  1. Sonya

    #1 by Sonya - January 13, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    It's funny, I have in every test I've done on type, from Keirsey to online ones, found myself to be ISFJ, yet I am immensely interested in type and persuing as much knowledge of it as I can. I feel I am interested in the idea of it, but maybe I am just interested in how it applies to my life. The point I am trying to make, is sometimes I wonder if I am INFJ. Any thoughts?

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