a.k.a. “Get over it Marianne. Why does it matter? Who cares? Stop talking about it. It’s useless and you’re wasting your time.”
Society gives psychology shade. You’re weak if you’re emotional. You’re judging if you’re too analytical. You’re an asshole either way. Having an illness is a weakness of the mind that should not be talked about. We all avoid confronting other people about their faults. We are unwilling to admit that we are part of the problem.
I have been told some of these things in real life. Some of these things are implied by society. Some things are explicitly said around the internet.
Here’s the thing. I am very respectful to other people’s opinion (regardless of where they are coming from). I go as far as to understand that judgement even if their argument has a weak basis (ie. the reluctance to be open to new ideas thus dismissing it as illogical without researching). When I see people are tired of a topic, I stop talking about it. Trust me, I know. But please do not make haste judgements about MBTI/Personality Types and Psychology because you are too lazy (or scared) to do the research to understand. Also, do not make haste judgements about me because I enjoy understanding others. I actually want to help. If you disagree, please tell me personally.
Lastly, if you took this article personally then you do not get my point. I am addressing criticism that I have been getting not only from my real life encounters, but through internet encounters. I’ve been criticized for being like this (meaning psycho-analytical and a overthinker) my whole life. Owning up to it by talking about MBTI for the last year has opened the door to subtle criticism from across the spectrum. I’m letting you know the reasons why. So let’s get right to it.
It helps me understand with myself.
“Ugh, why do you need to know yourself? You SHOULD know yourself. That makes no sense.”
Have you ever hated an action, thought or idea so much and only to realize later that you were exactly what you hate? We all have some forms of hypocrisy inside of us. It’s frustrating for people around us, especially if they love us. Hypocrisy can become a form of toxicity. And one antidote to this is self-awareness through analysis. Most of us live our lives thinking that we are good, moral people because we do things out of grounded beliefs (usually established by family, or society) yet we don’t know how many people around us we unintentionally hurt. When we are confronted, we become defensive because it did not fit the idea that we had of ourselves.
I like MBTI because it helps me understand myself. One of the problems I feel plague society is the lack of self-awareness. Some people go living their lives not questioning who they are, what they stand for, and what’s wrong with them. I don’t want to be that person. I would rather know myself, and have it be painful every second, with the small hope of realization, self-actualization, and the possibility to change for the better.
MBTI helps me understand myself in an analytical-less emotional way. You see, there are a lot of personality tests out there. Out of all of them I find typology through MBTI/Socionics to be the most useful because it is flexible. Many people think it’s limiting for people to be “quantified” into 16 types. Hilariously enough, many people accept the Type A vs. Type B personality type without much thought. What people fail to understand about the Myers-Briggs is as flexible as the amount of knowledge you have.
In addition, it is about as inflexible as you make it to be. If you believe that you fill the archetype of an INFJ and you’ve committed in your mind that THAT is the only possible definitioin of an INFJ then you are as one-dimensional as a description. But an INFJ can act like an ISTP. An INFJ can act like any type. The question is how do they process their thoughts into actions? That is what typology is to me.
It’s easy to just say that you know yourself. But do you take time to question and solidify your personality? It’s difficult to have an accurate understanding of yourself. Some parts of yourself are dark and hidden for a reason. But if you refuse to confront it and move on, then it could unadvertently shape you into someone you do not want to be. If you can’t understand yourself, how can you understand other people, especially the ones you care about.
It helps me dislike people less by understanding them more.
“What you do is mean. You are judging people based on their type. You probably thing __ type is a bad person. You are biased. “
People tell me that analyzing people based on typology is mean and I have no right to judge these people. But the funny thing is we judge people all the time whether we are aware or not. Mostly by arbitrary, personalized rules. We judge people unfairly based on race, religion, beliefs, looks, actions and words. We say this person is a douche bag because of something he posted on Facebook. We say this person is an slut because she dresses like one. These adjectives describing other people are judgments: positive, negative or otherwise. As a human you cannot help but judge. It is part of survival. We need to make decisions about people. But I actually try to make my interpretation of MBTI more objective. A cognitive function just is. People are the ones who put implied meanings in the words. The word routine may annoy me and may comfort you. But the word “routine” is neither good nor bad.
Here is another example. I used to think that certain people are overly self-centered and emotional. That they only look out for themselves. In the past I would judge this person to be horrible. That is my opinion. But then I started thinking past my perspective. What am I not seeing that makes this person this way? Maybe they had a traumatic experience. Maybe they are just defending their ego. What if I don’t understand where they are coming from? What if I look at things from their perspective? Will I still think they are horrible?
With a guide like typology then I will not make that haste decisions about that person. Instead I will ask why is the person that way? Is it because of a certain cognitive function? Is it because of experience? Or is it just the way they think? Once I attain understanding, I find it easier to respect that person. I can see where they are coming from. I must respect their free will. My perception of what is terrible is mine alone. But now, if I come in conflict with that person I will not act out of ignorance, anger and defensiveness. I will be there to understand them and react accordingly. Myers-Briggs, socionics, and other systems just help me do that.
Because I believe social interactions are important.
“Why does it matter to you? Who cares about why other people are like this? Why waste your energy on people at all?”
If you believe that me learning about personalities is a waste of time then that’s more a reflection of what you think is a waste of time and what I think.
If you really want to know… I think that people change each other. That small actions and otherwise inconspicuous words can affect people for a lifetime.
Ask yourself this. Has anyone ever said something so mean to you that those words resonated in your heart and mind becoming a toxic mantra which is preventing you from growing as a person? Someone hit you so hard with a negative comment now you subconsciously do anything to avoid that same criticism. Has anyone ever done something seemingly tiny but has large consequences on your personality and your beliefs? If so wouldn’t you say that actions have impact on other people? And that understanding people and how to interact with them is important? At the very least to minimize negative outcomes and increase positive ones?
Learning about other people, understanding them and ultimately helping them understand themselves is something that I think I can work to improve. I want people to be healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. I want to be the type of person that helps people better themselves at their own pace, with their own values. I don’t want to convert the world to think that MBTI and psychology is the cure-all for everything, but it is an important aspect people should consider.
Ultimately, I learn about psychology because I want to be a better person to the people around me and to myself. My first step is self-awareness and what is self-awareness without some guiding framework? MBTI is my framework to understand people as objectively as I can. Cognitive functions and the types themselves are not bad. Our judgements of them can be.
No matter how much I will change, I will still need people. I will interact with them whether I want to or not. I will spend time with them regardless of choice. I want to make the best of that time. To understand the human condition. To understand my love ones and comfort them in the way they need. To help myself grow and understand. To connect with people.