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  1. #1
    heart on fire
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    Default Personality Type and Growth

    Reading this and other boards, I see a lot of talk of "unhealthy" and "healthy" examples of one's own type. Usually the most common suggestion for growth into a more healthy form of one's own type is to try and purposely move towards the "center-line" between the two functions of one's primary function, usually this is directed at the introversion-extroversion line and the feeling-thinking line in particular.

    The implication is that one can simply start "pushing out of the comfort zone" and one can become less introverted or more of a thinker or etc.

    What if this type of thinking is all wrong? What if we cannot force ourselves into being "more of an extrovert" or "more of a thinker" or more or less of any primary function without becoming less of the best of what we were originally made to be because of the energy drain and effort necessary to "force" the change?

    What if the correct way is to become more attuned to the best of your own particular type through understanding how your type works and applying it in a systematic way?

    What I mean by this is, say my type INFP, maybe the best way for me to become more rounded is to immerse myself into INFP-ness. I should become a more intense INFP, a true INFP. Maybe instead of pushing to become more "extroverted" as I tried to do and really failed before, that I need to totally let go of this idea and embrace my introversion for what it is without reservations. I am what I am.

    Then I think I should systematically apply a resolve to exercise my 3rd and 4th functions, Si and Te and do things to strengthen these known strengths, to make better use of what I have and what I am rather than trying to force myself into something I am not. Not a "forcing" to change my behavior in a cold turkey, "mind over matter" way, but instead doing specific exercises to develop more Si and more Te and to better understand exactly what these functions are and how they work with my Fi and Ne.

    It seems logical to me then no matter how introverted I remain, if my supporting functions to my primary functions are stronger and I am fully immersed in the ways of using them, I will make better use of that interaction with the world that I do have and no need to drain myself by trying to be what I am not. I will naturally become more and more of the better example of what I can be. It will be a natural progression and not a forced change.

    Now I just have to come up with some ways to exercise these functions that are simple enough to be practical and effective enough to build up tone in these areas. Like any exercise, it should be intentional, systematic and progressive.

    I think this could work for any type, that they stop trying to change themselves into some more middle of the road version of their type, and instead more fully immerse themselves into what they already are and try to grow by focusing in on exercising their 3rd and 4th functions in an applied and serious fashion. Then their primary and secondary functions would have a firmer foundation and the person would be a stronger version of their own type. Just my thoughts on this after reading all the different views.

  2. #2
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    I agree. I don't believe one can force themselves to be more extroverted or more of a thinker without a cost and anyway I find it very stressful situation to try to become something you are not.
    I have very recently seen another thread, here or in intpc, I don't remember the title, which said that each one should play with his own forces. Trying to change yourself or amend your "faults" does not help one's personal growth. On the contrary, one should play with their own forces, learn to enhance them and use them on the maximum.
    Introversion has been something I 've passed all my adolescence trying to fight it and I am impressed with the number of teenagers I see, especially in intpc who have come in terms so easily with their "weaknesses".
    I believe we should all try not to fight ourselves, change, fix the weaknesses, change our personality but to develop the characteristics we already have in a positive way.

  3. #3
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Now I just have to come up with some ways to exercise these functions that are simple enough to be practical and effective enough to build up tone in these areas. Like any exercise
    The problem for me is, I don't understand any of the functions well enough for them to be real. They don't show up physically in my life, either in my thoughts, actions, words, whatever. They're like imaginary things. It's hard for me to explain, but they're just not tangible, so when someone mentions practicing them I picture a hand reaching for air.

    I don't pretend to know how cool I am. I just try to have fun in life. The more I try to work on my traits, the more inadequate I feel, and the harder it is to have fun.

    "The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." Sounded like you were trying to describe this in your post. Sounds good to me.

    I don't believe working on your traits is the key to happiness. That just makes me angry and frustrated with myself. I think working on a sweeping change in perspective will automatically bring you happiness, once you find the right perspective. Nevermind traits.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    I just want to mention that a great deal of "healthy and unhealthy" in MBTI comes from the degree of emotional stability that one has. Think of this as the degree of reactiveness to negative factors - how controlling one becomes when they are a T, but how yellingish one becomes when E, how "silent treatment" one becomes when I, etc.

    Working on the opposite functions is more about taking a situation in which your normal method of thinking isn't suitable. I don't recommend thinking in functional views for this, but regardless, it would be good for Es to learn to apprectiate the inner world - to essentially be less happy and contemplative, just as it is good for Is to learn to deal with "overload".

    Every part of who we are is both "inherent" and imposed. A great deal of who we are comes from how we learn to cope with the inherent issues... as such, there should never be an issue with not "fixing the weakness". Learning to deal with different situations is critical for all personality types. It doesn't matter if it's an ESTJ learning how to show emotion to their mates, or just to themselves... or an INFP learning how to be be a project manager and thus tougher... It doesn't mean one should immerse themselves into that role, but understanding what is involved, how it works, why it's needed - it brings perspective... and more importantly, allows you to actually use those same skills when you need them... (as above, for a healthy personal relationship and the second for dealing with tasks that require less of a personal touch - a recent example being banking for me.)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Working on the opposite functions is more about taking a situation in which your normal method of thinking isn't suitable.

    Jung says: "So long as the ego feels subordinate to the unconscious subject, and the feeling is aware of something higher and mightier than the ego, the type (Fi) is normal. Although the thinking type is archaic, its reductive tendencies help to compensate the occasional fits of trying to exalt the ego of the subject." P. 249-50, The Portable Jung.

    To me, this is saying that Thinking is important to the Fi and that is would be good strengthen Te so it can be a greater compensation to keep Fi on track. Not to work it up to replace Fi, but to become more adept with it so that it can support Fi better.

    I think it would be a better and more effective way for a INFP to try and balance themselves than to try to force themselves into a different situation to "get tougher" necessarily. Exercise the supporting functions in a intentional way through progressive actions and I think the INFP will become more of what their personal best is and they will naturally gravitate out to pursue activities that they can express that in.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    To me, this is saying that Thinking is important to the Fi and that is would be good strengthen Te so it can be a greater compensation to keep Fi on track. Not to work it up to replace Fi, but to become more adept with it so that it can support Fi better.
    Well, my view would be that one shouldn't limit-bound themselves with any personality trait. What is better is subjective to the person, but for example, as an ISTP (or even INTP, for anyone who continues to doubt it), relationships are a serious issue. The reality is that certain "methods" are simply worse at certain things - and T is really crappy at personal relationships by its nature (it's the main factor in MBTI that correlates with relationship happiness, for instance - a side effect of it's nature).

    As subjective as our wants need, they are all external. The method for achieving it is all internal. It isn't possible... or rather, it isn't ideal to use only one "method" for all of these wants.

    The real danger is in the word "preference". I don't believe in looking at it from the "support" issue - it's more about using the right approach to the right problem. If the preference is so strong that you attempt to Te your relationship, so to speak, you are setting yourself up for issues.

    I think it would be a better and more effective way for a INFP to try and balance themselves than to try to force themselves into a different situation to "get tougher" necessarily. Exercise the supporting functions in a intentional way through progressive actions and I think the INFP will become more of what their personal best is and they will naturally gravitate out to pursue activities that they can express that in.
    I'm not sure if we are fighting over semantics, but I believe that it is very unlikely to develop opposing preferences if one doesn't use them... That invariably means forcing situations to use opposing preferences. I don't mean one should embrace them to a stressful level, but learning when and how to deal with personality traits is very important for balance. This applies at the skill level mostly... We can all deal with stress in bursts, which is all it takes to learn to cope with it, to reduce the stress part that we can control. It is more the unfamiliar, the uncertain and the uncontrolled(able) that causes a large amount of the reaction. Making it more familiar, more certain and putting it under control is the best way to deal with it.

    At the cognitive level, it is important to intentionally diffuse reactions. By consistently using only one reaction without attempting to counteract it, you continue to hardwire the reaction to only one method... this is dangerous, if, for example, you get into a relationship in which the T is reasonable (ie: two Ts in a relationship)... what happens is that instead of dealing with the underlying nature of relationships, the reactions to situations becomes increasingly hardwired. As such, changing the situation (further into the relationship, changing relationships, "tail end" situations) will cause the wrong preference to kick in... first at the reactionary level, then at the behaviour/skill level.

    I think what we disagree with is the semantics involved in what constitues a preference, as well as how to develop them in a healthy manner... not the overall benefit of doing it.

  7. #7
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    Reading this and other boards, I see a lot of talk of "unhealthy" and "healthy" examples of one's own type. Usually the most common suggestion for growth into a more healthy form of one's own type is to try and purposely move towards the "center-line" between the two functions of one's primary function, usually this is directed at the introversion-extroversion line and the feeling-thinking line in particular.
    I don't think the "center-line" for the primary two functions is the most healthy. (I'm saying this as someone who is pretty close to the center line of extravert/introvert.) Most healthy is probably something closer to 65%/35% when it comes to E/I (or I/E depending).

    When it comes to which functions to develop, I think developing the primary two functions is important when a person is young. Once a person hits late teens or early twenties then they can assess if their secondary function is developed "enough" so that their primary function is balanced out. After that I think it's up to the individual to become the type of person that they want to become. Some paths will be easier than others, but the easy path may not always be the most self-actualizing path.

    Once a person is an adult I think it comes down to mostly a person's ability to lean on their strengths while being aware of their weaknesses.
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  8. #8
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    OK, can there be "unhealthy" behaviors that an individual can act out that are not related to their type at all?

    (1) For instance, does an adult pathological liar attribute their dishonesty to having abusive parents as a kid, or to E/I, T/F, etc?

    (2) Does a person who was not shown any affection as a child attribute being "cold" when an adult to N/S, P/J, etc?

    It seems that there is alot more to "unhealthy" than MBTI type and/or underlying functions.

    Can being off the charts of a given function, or belonging to a particular archetype (NF, SP, NT, SJ) predispose a person to being more likely to exhibit "unhealthy" type-specific behaviors (e.g. SP's and "hedonism")?

    Sure, maybe. But I think there is alot more to a person being "unhealthy" than type alone. Does that make sense?

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