Personality: How Jungian Typology Shapes Your Life – PART 2
Jungian typology of personality — the basis of the Myers-Briggs personality test — helps us better understand our whole journey through life.
As we began to examine in the first part of this series, if we’re willing to really reflect on the meaning of our personality type, it can tell us a great deal about where we’re likely going in our lives. It can also tell us a lot about what we need to find to feel more whole or complete.
Opposites: The Problem of Understanding Others
One powerful way in which we become aware of the impact of Jungian typology is in interacting with people whose personality type is different from our own. As we indicated in the last post, many of the attributes of personality type are true opposites. For instance, thinking and feeling, and introversion and extroversion are completely opposed pairs.
So, we begin to experience what it really means to be, for instance, a strong feeling type, when we encounter someone who is a strong thinking type. Such a person might well seem utterly different from myself. Where I might judge or evaluate everything by the way I react to it subjectively, this other person might evaluate things on whether they’re “logical” or whether they “make sense”. That might seem very cold to me! And, it might seem very strange!
If, on top of that, you had the added dimension of the other person being an introvert, where I am very strongly an extrovert, and it might seem almost incomprehensible! Sometimes, such an opposite person might seem almost repellant. On the other hand, there might be a strange, strong attraction. More than a few strong romantic connections can be explained by the old story that “opposites attract”!
But then, that leads us to another mystery: what is it in me that is attracted to the opposite thing in the other person?
The Problem of Understanding Ourselves
As we look more at others, we may find ourselves becoming more aware of the problem of understanding ourselves. For instance, I may find myself strongly attracted to, or admiring of people with a different personality type than mine. Yet I can be aware that I am completely different from these people, with different values. So, what is it in us that is attracted to their style of approaching social interactions and relating to themselves and the world?
Here is where the other can actually be a clear and powerful mirror of myself. For I may well find that there is something in the other person that I yearn to find in myself. In fact… it could well be that what the feeling type finds attractive in the thinking type is his or her own underdeveloped capacity for thinking, and vice versa!
Now, if I’m a feeling type, thinking type, or some other, I may well have powerful reactions to my psychological opposite. I may be fascinated by it, attracted to it — or, utterly revolted. But it can be very important for me to understand my own personality type, as well as its opposite, because I likely carry that opposite within me, in my unconscious.
We may find that, if we don’t acknowledge our own weak feeling, or weak thinking, it can emerge in surprising and unwelcome ways. The thinking type may find him- or herself subject to moods that he or she can’t explain or shake off. The feeling type may find her- or himself subject to obsessive thoughts that just won’t go away. We need to acknowledge these ignored and perhaps disrespected parts of ourselves, if we’re to continue our journey to wholeness.
Jungian Typology and The Undiscovered Self
So, exploring our Jungian typology and our personality type can lead us into new and unexpected kinds of self-understanding. It can help us get into relationship with what Jung called “the undiscovered Self”.
This exploration of personality type can be a very important part of the work of /a-midlife-transition. Working in the supportive environment of Jungian therapy with a highly trained and supportive guide can be an excellent way to explore all the aspects of personality type including those parts that are less developed. It can be a great way to acknowledge and come to accept all the different parts of the greater Self.