Saturday, June 29, 2013

Social Circles

Photo by Aleshia Clarke

An interesting group of people caught my attention last week. As most of you know, I have an acute interest in social science as a generalist (never did get that Master's Degree). I have been educated in personality theory and application through the use of psychological tests. I knew I was an INFJ according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality inventory. This basically means I'm the quiet, thoughtful type who seeks meaning in life, has concerns for mankind, and values the need for social justice.

What I did not realize, is there is an entire subculture of INFJ's or other personality types. Some are bloggers or peace activists, and they have an organized online social presence. They proudly list famous people who share the same personality traits; for example, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi. On the other side of the coin, Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Robert Mugabe share the INFJ traits. Does this mean we can be almost exactly alike, but either "good" or "evil?" It sure looks like that may be the case.

My daughter is an ISTJ, which means that unlike me, she is very methodic about her daily routine and she relies on facts more than feelings (she studies Molecular Genetics). She and I are very similar, as a matter of fact...I used to be an ISFJ when I was younger. Personality is fluid; it can have slight variation from one week to the next. I'm likely to test differently based on whether I am under pressure to meet deadlines at work, or relaxing at the beach on my annual vacation. In my case, going through the major life changing event of a divorce was the catalyst for changing my ST to an NF.

I also learned that many INFJ's, myself included, are also HSP's - Highly Sensitive Persons. Fascinating stuff, wouldn't you agree? If you would like to learn more about these analytical psychology concepts, which are based on the work of Carl Jung, check out the following websites:

The Myers & Briggs Foundation
The Highly Sensitive Person