The "Golden Shadow"
Its your Jungian shadow that is perplexing and giving you the paradox that seems to be giving like a loving mother for those that are undecided of their type.Robert Johnson says that there is "gold" in the shadow. This gold needs to be mined and brought to the surface.
Murray Stein observes that the shadow represents the repressed in our life. At midlife, he says the shadow or repressed, "...returns and needs to be dealt with in a new way, because the seeds of psychological renewal and of possible future directions for life lie hidden within it." Regarding the return of the repressed Stein writes, "When the unconscious erupts at midlife, what first comes most strongly to the fore are rejected pieces of personality that were left undeveloped and cast aside sometime in the past, for one reason or another, in the rapid movement forward of personal history. Life still clings strongly to them. And actually the seeds of the future lie in these neglected figures, which now return and call for restoration and attention." There is much positive that can be gained from the shadow, but there is much resistance.
Robert Johnson observes that people resist the more noble aspects of their shadow more strenuously than the dark sides. He says that, "The gold is related to our higher calling and this can be hard to accept at certain stages of life." While still concerned with ego differentiation and type development we may not want to hear of the challenge of a higher calling.
Johnson reminds us that " to own oneís shadow is whole making." He also tells us, "No one can be anything but a partial being, ravaged by doubt and loneliness, unless he has close contact with his shadow. The shadow consists of those aspects of your character that belong to you but that have not been given any conscious place in your life. ... Assimilating oneís shadow is the art of catching up on those facets of life that have not been lived out adequately."
Myers-Briggs Personality Types Development Dynamics: Myers, Briggs & Carl Jung
The 16 Type Patterns
True personality type is hidden
When we talk about Type, we are actually talking about something that is hidden beneath the collection of traits and behaviors we think about when using the term personality. A person's "Type" may be something we can infer from traits and behaviors, yet we cannot directly observe it. If we examine the root of the word personality ("persona") we discover it means "mask." So the origin of the term suggests the early philosopher-psychologists believed the real self was hidden beneath the mask of personality.
When we observe in others consistent patterns of behavior, we are seeing, not type itself, but the influence of what I call the Faces of Type. The Faces are pair patterns of Judging and Perceiving mental functions (ST, SF, NT & NF). There is a unique combination associated with each type. Each of the 16 types has two primary Type Faces (derived from the fact that each of us responds to both E and I energy sources): a more public outer-energized face and a more private inner-energized one.That's so cool.Personality Type Paradoxes - An I/ENFP example
These natural changes and growth in adults account for the apparent paradoxes we sometimes observe in people of all types. Development of the NeTe face of INFPs accounts for the "coolness" and "detachment" we sometimes observe in them. INFP mid-life changes, such as an increasing desire to organize and take charge of one's life or to stop being used as a doormat by others, are consistent with this developing outer NT. Some INFPs have become quite proficient in masking their "true feelings" with their NT face. This same facility in their ENFP cousins has them able to mimic ENTJ stereotypical behavior. They can assume control, take charge of a situation, make the hard decisions, and move on with their job. They can have masterly control over lawyer-speak, slicing careful nuances in meaning and logic. Even though they prefer Feeling over Thinking, they can become and are competent attorneys.The NeTe face on ENFPs and INFPs also explains why these two types are among the top four types having home pages on the Internet (From data on Doug Ingram's Personality Index page. The other two top four types are INTJ and INTP). While NFPs are people-oriented folks, many are drawn to latest technology and technological gadgetry of all sorts - which I ascribe to their extraverted NT face.
Let's look at the other primary I/ENFP face (SF). The SF pattern suggests a persona more consistent with the "traits" frequently ascribed to ENFPs - the warm, fun and people loving side of their personality who can very much live in and enjoy the moment. INFPs more typically keep the SF face hidden, yet it provides the energy for their participation in helping professions, all kinds of nurturing activities, and their interest in performing arts and arts and crafts work in general.
I/ENFP Type Faces
I/ENFPs who have developed both their NT and SF faces can present a capricious image of contradictions. They can engage in logical dialogue at a conceptual level (NT) and then a short time later engage in actions that seem to fly in the face of that discussion (because their SF nature was engaged). Extraverts seem to be particularly adept at turning either of these faces to the outer world - depending on the circumstances. At one moment, being able to talk and make the big picture, tough decisions and at another moment be warm, fuzzy, or empathetic are two sides of the same NFP coin. Yet this can be disquieting - conjuring up the image of false masks implied by the pejorative term "two-faced."
I'm sure this applies for every personality in different ways.
But I digress I'm interested in the Golden Shadow, how to own your shadow.
Some of the pure gold of our personality is relegated to the shadow because it can find no place in that great leveling process that is culture. Curiously, people resist the noble aspects of their shadow more strenuously than they hide the dark sides. To draw the skeletons out of the closet is relatively easy, but to own the gold in the shadow is terrifying. It is more disrupting to find that you have a profound nobility of character than to find out you are a bum. Of course you are both; but one does not discover these two elements at the same time. The gold is related to our higher calling, and this can be hard to accept at certain stages of life. Ignoring the gold can be as damaging as ignoring the dark side of the psyche, and some people may suffer a severe shock or illness before they learn how to let the gold out.