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  1. #21
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Actually, my family isn't religious, they are all “secular” (basic mix of theological agnosticism with evolutionary “naturalism” and a mix of secular psyhologies and philosophies). So this is what I associated self-help with. Not being able to conjure up that inner power, in desperation, I eventually figure maybe there was something to a Biblical theistic position after all; especially since God is supposedly external, and a more logical (at least hypothetically) source of “divine strength”, and it's said that the power is only available to believers anyway.
    But then I find in practice, it's still ultimately many of the same “self-help” principles, though with God nominally made the focus (like “have faith in God” replacing “believe in yourself”, and many newer Christians even use both, even though their predecessors repudiated putting it the latter way, as “humanistic”). So it was totally bewildering.

    So it's mainly that “older” brand of Christianity that said directly to put the ego aside. Whenever psychology and self-help say “self” (as in “self-love”), they hear “ego” and put that down as well.
    The secular advice of my family and others was often a mix of “reach for the stars”, and then warning of how ego can get in the way. We want everything NOW, and with no difficulty. So they'll say go enjoy life (they don't call this “growing the ego” as far as I've seen), but when we can't get what we want, then they'll go after the “ego”.
    And here in Jungian theory, the entire point is ultimately how our egos slant reality to one side or the other, and that the goal is to integrate what's been shut out.

    So what EJCC is basically correct. It's a matter of finding a way to do this, and the Jungian concepts has been that “data” (often dismissed by mainstream “self-help”), giving me a framework to start from. It's still difficult, especially with the echo of the more popular Te “tough talk” approach still resounding everywhere. So I figured I'd put this out there and see what others thought.
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  2. #22
    just a vessel EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    So what EJCC is basically correct. It's a matter of finding a way to do this, and the Jungian concepts has been that “data” (often dismissed by mainstream “self-help”), giving me a framework to start from. It's still difficult, especially with the echo of the more popular Te “tough talk” approach still resounding everywhere. So I figured I'd put this out there and see what others thought.
    I usually define the "self-help" genre as necessitating exactly the sort of emotional and/or J-ish direction that you're trying to avoid. The whole point of best-selling self-help books is that readers want to be given suggestions and told what to do, so that's naturally going to be the way they're written. So if I was right in that you didn't want to be told what to do, or how to feel, then you aren't really looking for self-help books at all.

    And maybe that's why Jungian personality theory has worked so well for you -- it's presented as data, not as specific direction. You can feel free to use it however you want.

    So I guess my suggestion for INTP-specific "self-help" would be articles and books full of statistics, regarding the science -- hard (neurological, biological) or soft (psychological, sociological) -- of human behavior.
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  3. #23
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    I have a negative reaction to most self-help books, and I think there's a number of reasons for this.

    First of all, most self-help books seem to have a very shallow understanding of human nature and how change is effected. Even when one does try to follow the directives of self-help books, usually I find they stir up contrary emotional reactions that undermine the goal of the help (see "Why Don't My Positive Affirmations Work?" for an example of this).

    Secondly, many self-help books might as well have the sub-title "How to be more Judging and/or leverage your J preference more effectively." While Perceivers can act out of preference (and sometime must, reality being what it is), acting out of preference for an extended period of time is draining. This means that many self-help approaches are not energetically worthwhile, and are effectively unmaintainable for Perceivers. I find the JPT article "Building Momentum: The Unconventional Strengths of Perceiving College Students" a helpful counterbalance to "Judging is the only way to succeed" mentality.

    Thirdly, I find the values of many self-help books to be pretty appalling. Often the goal is to transform yourself (or at least your appearance) into something that you're not. Sometimes the goal and/or recommended techniques are morally dubious, so the recommendations are partially about convincing yourself that what you're doing is wonderful (when it isn't).

    So generally, I'd say that many self-help books have a very goal-directed TJ slant, and see internal values and emotions as things to be modified or harnessed. If they can be said to be Fi-based, it's Fi in service of Te. Some self-help strikes me as FJ-ish, being about how to maintain positive social relationships, and how to marshal social resources. Still, overall it's a very goal directed, means-to-an-end genre.

    My only other side-thought is that when Feeling is present in self-help books (especially the Te-ish ones), it often has has an unformed, sentimental flavor that I associate with under-developed Feeling. So to me it comes across as kind of sacarine and one-dimentional, rather than being in tune with actual human nature. Of course, your mileage may vary.

  4. #24
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    Honestly I think the word of psychoanalysis from a more official standpoint fetishizes non limbic ENFJs, and a friend of mine who is a real psychotherapist who is likely INFJ rejects MBTI because apparently she doesn't see how harmful it is to press the Big Five on people as some metric of "normal"...ofc she loves the Big Five, I hate it, I think they're things even an intelligent adolescent can see, and do nothing in the way of explaining "why."

    Yes, other popular culture mainstream self help tools focus on strengthening of Fi. In late middle age my ISTJ grandfather developed a keen interest in the power of positive visualization and "you can if you think you can" from the Christian pastor Norman Vincent Peale who was probably some kind of NFP.

  5. #25
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    Yes, other popular culture mainstream self help tools focus on strengthening of Fi. In late middle age my ISTJ grandfather developed a keen interest in the power of positive visualization and "you can if you think you can" from the Christian pastor Norman Vincent Peale who was probably some kind of NFP.
    I believe Norman Vincent Peale is more commonly typed as ENTJ, which fits with the more one-dimensional Fi perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    It's interesting -- I had always thought of the sort of self-help described in the OP as being of two different schools:

    1) Love yourself in order to love others, be kind to yourself, cut yourself slack, give yourself a big ol' hug, "Treat Yo Self", all those pictures on Tumblr aimed at preteen girls
    2) Just plow through it, it'll be better on the other side, "If you're going through hell, keep going", etc

    #1 I see as FP, #2 as TJ. I usually see #1 as helpful in moderation but gross and sappy to the point of being useless on the other extreme. I suspect FPs feel similarly about TJ advice.

    Anyway I do agree with mal and five sounds about author bias, but I disagree that it can't be helpful to other types anyway. My dad (INTP) just LOVES SJ-style advice books about increasing your productivity and getting shit done. He also likes really sappy advice like "make a list of everything you're grateful for at the end of every day".
    Yeah I got a lot of "just plow through it" advice from my TJ grandparents. In a way it made me stronger and able to do things I wouldn't normally, but I think it also contributed to my garden variety insanity. I think I might actually show the most productive potential for my type in middle age since my grandparents shamed me for it in my youth. I spent my twenties just trying to retrieve myself from being critcized for having worthless interests, making collages is stupid, you are good at the wrong things...my life as I have lived it has been an external expression of my creativity, but I think I would have been able to produce more at a younger age ironically had I not had Te beaten over my head so much. Then again I don't know at least now I have so much experience to draw from.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    I believe Norman Vincent Peale is more commonly typed as ENTJ, which fits with the more one-dimensional Fi perspective.
    Is he? Hmm. Maybe that's why my grandfather loved him, maybe he identified with him as a TJ. I assumed he was NFP because he made a career out of counseling people with Fi kinda sorta self help, he was very controversial as a pastor especially in the 50s...I won't argue over it, it just seemed like an unlikely career for a Te dom.

  8. #28
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    I have a negative reaction to most self-help books, and I think there's a number of reasons for this.

    First of all, most self-help books seem to have a very shallow understanding of human nature and how change is effected. Even when one does try to follow the directives of self-help books, usually I find they stir up contrary emotional reactions that undermine the goal of the help (see "Why Don't My Positive Affirmations Work?") for an example of this.

    Secondly, many self-help books might as well have the sub-title "How to be more Judging and/or leverage your J preference more effectively." While Perceivers can act out of preference (and sometime must, reality being what it is), acting out of preference for an extended period of time is draining. This means that many self-help approaches are not energetically worthwhile, and are effectively unmaintainable for Perceivers. I find the JPT article "Building Momentum: The Unconventional Strengths of Perceiving College Students" a helpful counterbalance to "Judging is the only way to succeed" mentality.

    Thirdly, I find the values of many self-help books to be pretty appalling. Often the goal is to transform yourself (or at least your appearance) into something that you're not. Sometimes the goal and/or recommended techniques are morally dubious, so the recommendations are partially about convincing yourself that what you're doing is wonderful (when it isn't).

    So generally, I'd say that many self-help books have a very goal-directed TJ slant, and see internal values and emotions as things to be modified or harnessed. If they can be said to be Fi-based, it's Fi in service of Te. Some self-help strikes me as FJ-ish, being about how to maintain positive social relationships, and how to marshal social resources. Still, overall it's a very goal directed, means-to-an-end genre.

    My only other side-thought is that when Feeling is present in self-help books (especially the Te-ish ones), it often has has an unformed, sentimental flavor that I associate with under-developed Feeling. So to me it comes across as kind of sacarine and one-dimentional, rather than being in tune with actual human nature. Of course, your mileage may vary.
    Yes, this is a good articulation of some of what I was trying to get at...

    I think as a Fi-dom, the idea of plowing through emotions & just doing stuff & telling yourself you're awesome & great & all is well when your emotions say otherwise is, well, ILLOGICAL.
    I'll explain that...

    Emotions are not just messy stuff to be pushed aside in life. They serve a purpose. They tell us when some need has been violated or met. So to ignore emotions & feelings in order to do stuff & to replace them with happy feel-good mantras is confusing these goals with meeting real needs, because if you don't know what is really important to you, then how can you meet it? What if what's important to you is not any concrete goal either?

    I need to take the day off & laze around in bed & then pace the walls in my pajamas and sort through this stuff. I need to make sense of it, grasp what it's telling me, find something to relate it to, a context to put it in, and then what begins to emerge is a clearer picture of what I really need. If I plow through this, then what I am doing? I am just adopting goals people tell me I should have, whether or not they fulfill me or help anyone else in anyway. The Fi process is about putting a pause on things to get to know yourself and what is essential to you as a human being, and really to all human beings on a most basic level, and THEN you may figure out how to act on that. But if you don't do that, then you're running like a machine, and that's inevitably going to violate your human needs.

    In short, it looks like ways to fake happy & replace "success" with true fulfillment. I always feel like I'd have to lie to myself to follow most self-help, to invalidate my own feelings & ignore what I
    It's illogical because it tells you that you can fill desires & be happy by ignoring the very signals of what fulfills you & makes you happy (or violates those things).

    This is probably cliche INFP of me, but I find literature, poetry, art, music, & film to communicate things about the human experience that is much more enlightening & "useful" than standard self-help. Even religion & spiritual philosophies give more general concepts & principles to adapt to yourself than overly simplistic "methods".
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

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  9. #29
    Google "chemtrails" Bush Did 9/11's Avatar
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    I can see the slant arising from the whole 'self-affirmation' thing, but I don't see a better alternative. In my mind, it all starts from there; it's the core. I also don't think that the approach is limited to those who don't 'use Fi.'

    I'm open to hearing about other alternatives. Maybe I'm blind to them.

  10. #30
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    I usually define the "self-help" genre as necessitating exactly the sort of emotional and/or J-ish direction that you're trying to avoid. The whole point of best-selling self-help books is that readers want to be given suggestions and told what to do, so that's naturally going to be the way they're written. So if I was right in that you didn't want to be told what to do, or how to feel, then you aren't really looking for self-help books at all.

    And maybe that's why Jungian personality theory has worked so well for you -- it's presented as data, not as specific direction. You can feel free to use it however you want.

    So I guess my suggestion for INTP-specific "self-help" would be articles and books full of statistics, regarding the science -- hard (neurological, biological) or soft (psychological, sociological) -- of human behavior.
    Yeah; not looking for self-help books. Just noting how the principles seem universal, even in segments of a religion that claims to eschew them.

    Quote Originally Posted by YUI View Post
    Well whatever. In my previous reply I was riffing off of some comments you made about how being told to "take heart; God is in control" represented "the death of ego" or was "against ego's perspective," and so on.

    But whatever. The main point is that you're talking about a special circumstance: Your interfering Te family is badgering you to live a certain way. In your shoes, I would likely have the same reaction as you. But it wouldn't necessarily be as a result of their use of Fi or the nature of self-help advice per se; it would be more about being harrassed by pushy people whom you can't dismiss or get rid of (interfering family members).

    But if you provide a more neutral example, such as Te/Fi hybrid advice offered in a self-help book, then I'm fine with that. I even like that stuff: It compliments nicely my own Fi/Te hybrid outlook on life these days. In fact, I would prefer to read Te/Fi hybrid advice rather than advice from a straight Fi Dom; the latter would be oppressive to me. I've had enough of the hard-core Fi outlook in my own life.

    Anyway, that's my point. If you want to discuss the nature of self-help philosophies (as described by the title of the thread), then the example of your family badgering you is kind of tendentious. That's kind of a special situation, and it's not really about self-help philosophy per se. It's more about being harrassed by well-meaning zealots whom you can't dismiss or tell to fuck off.

    ETA: Your example of badgering family members is more about the toxic nature of family rather than about the nature of self-help philosophies.
    Yes, I think that made it more "toxic" than it would have been otherwise. Then I filtered everything else I heard through that, because it was given at a time I was reacing out for some kind of help. I always wondered how I would have taken it otherwise. (It's also not so much about "harrassment"; they were trying to help, in the way they knew how, but I was describing the way it came off to me. I would think that as an NFP, it's possible you might not have taken it that way at all, at least not as much. You're hearing my take of it, but that's just how I took it. Also, I didn't mean for this to become about me and my family and my need to find self-help. It was just to raise questions of how functions shape the way we give and take the advice).
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