Does your type describe you or do you conform to it? | INFJ Forum

Does your type describe you or do you conform to it?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by TinyBubbles, Jun 6, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    Tell a kid 100x that they're bad at maths and eventually they'll believe it, and never want to touch a maths book.



    Tell a person they're INFJ (or whatever) and maybe they believe it too....? Even if they're not, maybe their belief will subconsciously compel them to express those parts of their personality that are more INFJ ish and suppress those parts which don't fit with their mental image of who they are.

    IMO your perception of who you are GREATLY if not entirely controls what you actually act as and do. So those parts of the profile which actually aren't very positive or beneficial, eg. that INFJs can't logically explain how they're coming to decisions, are doing you more harm than good, because you might take it as an acceptable limit - just one part of your indelible personality type. And the longer you identify with any particular profile, the stronger would be the association between it and what you're willing (perhaps even able??) to do.
    So in a way, we might be constraining ourselves to behave in a certain way because of what type we believe ourselves to be.

    Just something to think about~
     
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  2. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    Yay labeling theory!

    I think we all conform to whatever MBTI label we put on ourselves to some extent. Even if we don't conform to an MBTI label, then we conform that that non-conformity, especially if we want to maintain our supposed uniqueness.
     
  3. BlinkandThink

    BlinkandThink Community Member

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    Parts of the ENTP descriptions don't always apply to me, but I can't say I particularly care. In the end, I'm an individual, and it's the label's responsibility to fit me ... not the other way around. Labels of any sort have to sand parts off to catch the majority, so why on earth would I view that religiously?


    I'm ENTP more than I'm not, and that's good enough for me. Maybe someone will prove I'm an ISFP. *shrug* If the label stops working, I'll stop using it.
     
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  4. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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    Great question. I admit I used to try to conform to the INFJ descriptions. Although part of my reasoning was that I admired the description and wouldn't mind being seen in that light, I also wanted to better develop some of the qualities within it that I appreciate but didn't possess to a satisfactory degree. So it was in part conformation, but in a greater sense it was emulation for the purpose of self-development. I use various 'sources' to do that and mbti happened to be one of them.

    These days I'm much more uncertain about my type so I don't have anything to conform to (although plenty to learn from).
     
  5. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    Insight changes your behavior, it's as simple as that, and no one is immune to it.
     
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  6. Gaze

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    it's really tempting to look at a type description and say, yes, that is me, or no, it's definitely not. When i was learning about MBTI, i would get a very self satisfied feeling of having found myself in a description, especially the most positive or complimentary aspects of a type description, immediately believing that they fit, even if they didn't. Since i first tested as INFP, i was pretty much gung ho with the idealism in the descriptions.

    Not to say i haven't learned quite a bit from typing and the descriptions. But, one of the negative consequences of holding to type is that i started to think of myself almost only in these terms especially since i spent so much time online on forums reading and posting about it. I started to explain my behavior or actions almost entirely in terms of type, not realizing that they probably had nothing to do with type. I started to attribute things to personality when it should really be attributed to socialization, circumstances, or environment.

    Actually, belonging to a type, although cool, was/is very restrictive. It can take away a little bit of individuality and undermine your freedom of choice. You may begin to believe that you have no other choice but to act or behave according to type. Not good.
     
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    #6 Gaze, Jun 6, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2010
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  7. moira

    moira Newbie

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    I was just thinking about this yesterday. As of today I am only familiar with the personality profiles that I score with MBTI test, but I am sure I can identify with all of them on some level. I believe it does affect us unconsciously and eventually we will act accordingly, to align with the profile. That is why I avoid going too deep into it. However, personality profiles are useful tool of self discovery and helps others understand particular person a little bit, and if I find something in my type profile that does not align with my unique personality, I simply toss it away. My type is a closest match at this time, and it can and will be changed through life experiences, I am sure of that.

    Just my thoughts.
     
  8. Gaze

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    Focusing too much on identification with one type also limits choices. It's annoying when someone "says, no, you can't be this type or that type because . . . ". It's also irritating if someone says when you act as a INTJ, ENFJ, etc. you are acting against type. We are not the same in every situation. We change or adapt.

    And a classic example of seeing self as a type, is when i went to my family function this evening. I was so caught up in the idea or feeling that i was an introvert who needed to appear more extroverted or outgoing at a social function, that I allowed myself to prejudge everyone as this type or that type because they didn't respond the way i expected them to.

    People are first and foremost persons, not types.

    Focus on typing can also be extremely self indulgent - too much focus on self and feelings, not enough acknowledgement of reality and awareness of the needs of others. Can make someone overly self conscious as well.

    It can lead to self centered thinking, believing everything revolves around how we should feel or react because of type, or focusing on someone's lack of understanding of who we are (which we interpret as our type) because we think they aren't as enlightened by and about typing as we are, and just don't "get" us. (at least that's what i found myself doing, can't speak for anyone else)
     
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    #8 Gaze, Jun 6, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2010
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  9. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    I could not agree more. Thankyou for sharing your experiences Res, insightful as always :)
     
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  10. On my own path

    On my own path Community Member

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    I pretty much agree. Some people, in my experience, though seem to avoid acquiring insight into who they are though.

    Another point also is that one may not necessarily conform to one's type but rather identifying one's type helps one to be more comfortable being one's self. Sometimes people may feel as though they are "freaks" or "aberrations" because they deviate from societal norms. These people may become afraid to express who they truly are because they may feel as though no one or very few would understand them. Reading an MBTI profile can change that feeling and thus help one feel more comfortable being one's self and thus more likely to express one's self.
     
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  11. whytiger

    whytiger Community Member

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    At one time my wife typed as an INTJ but later realized she was an ISTP. She said that this realization released a lot of stress in her because she no longer felt that she had to do a lot of planning. I don't plan much either, but I always seem to know what to do next, and I can always move forward if I have a vision in my mind of what I want to achieve, so detailed plans tend to be superfluous.

    I find type descriptions to be the least useful aspects of typology. In fact, they are the reason, more than anything else, that it is not respected by science. There's too much of the Forer effect in them. I think tests are the first step and then a deep investigation of the theory and how one's own mind works. It's supposed to be about self-discovery, not fitting to a description.

    In my own case, I seem to take on whatever personality I think I am, especially when people suggest I'm a particular type. People think I'm just confused and don't know how I really behave, but no I really do change. It's very confusing.
     
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    #11 whytiger, Jun 6, 2010
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  12. Gaze

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    I agree with both points. And i'm easily guilty of fitting myself to what people expect. So, if everyone types me as INFJ, i'll unconsciously + consciously feel obligated to fit the stereotypical INFJ description and display typical INFJ traits. That's why i'm a bit disillusioned with typing.
     
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  13. Morgain

    Morgain defective wisdom
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    I don't see myself in terms of type but more in terms of cognitive functions.

    exploring MBTI has learned me a lot about the way I function and the reason why I was so unhappy with my life. I have always thought I'm this kind of person (scientist, thinker and judging) and when I first read the description of INFP I though, this can't possibly be me. But going more in detail, exploring myself in terms of cognitive functions helped me to better understand the way I function, who I am at work, who I am at home, why there is such a difference, what is most comfortable to me etc. And it helped me to see the good things about treads of mine that I always concidered a bad thing. Like the fact that being a dreamer you may not be as "involved" in the world as let say sensors, but it gives you the possibility to create wonderful things because you allow yourself the dream and fantasize. Realising and accepting that I am a dreamer helped me to release my creative energy and with that my sexuality and I concider that a very good thing :D
     
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  14. Morgain

    Morgain defective wisdom
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    I should have read the whole tread before I answered. This is exactly what the exploration of MBTI did for me. I too realised I didn't had to do all the planning because I normaly know what to de next and that if I listen to that "knowing" I'm always correct. It releases a lot of stress indeed!
     
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  15. DefectiveCreative

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    In response to some of the points whytiger raised, I think a question worth asking is "Does the idea that we have a core type have a physiological basis?"

    Neuroscience tells us that performing an action creates a neural pathway in the brain, repeating the action reinforces this pathway, and if you repeat the action often enough the pathway can become so reinforced that the behaviour becomes an automatic reflex.

    If these actions are a particular way of mentally approaching a problem (in other words a cognitive function, in the Jungian sense) then we can see how a preference for a certain approach (be it Fi, Ni, or whatever) above any other can gradually build into an automatic reflex, or instinctive response.

    Using different approaches could then be seen to be acting against those instincts, or in other words, against our "core type".

    If this is so, the question then becomes one of "How deeply ingrained are these responses? Can they be overwritten, or are they a permanent fixture of our personalities?"
     
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  16. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    :)

    I love discussions like these.

    I've always said that we're not our types; we're people. Why be locked into an assumption of who you think you should be? Why not be yourself - isn't that simpler?

    Yes, it's exciting to find people to relate to, and to discover that people act/think like you do. But it's not the end-all be all of existence if you don't act like the majority of "X" types. You are who you are, and you will always be an individual first.

    MBTI is a preferential system - it can only provide answers you give it, first. And we use ALL the processes, according to type theory, and some of us lean heavier on certain processes...which gives us or assumed type. But we should in no way shun or discredit or poo-poo those whose top four don't match our top four because (guess what) they're using our processes as well - albeit in a different order.

    This is why I absolutely hate "Sensors are X" or "Intuitives are Y" conversations. Or "Feelers are Z" and "Thinkers are Q". You might not like using those other processes, but you have to at some point. You can't function as a human being without using it all. And to be honest, in order for us to get along with others better we should be using type theory to our advantage: To learn how to communicate with others better.

    If we can't communicate with another person, then we've already missed how we can best benefit from type theories. It should never be only about us and our little MBTI bubbles. That's fractured, elitist thinking.
     
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  17. eii

    eii Newbie

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    My native type is INTJ, that won't change. But I've overcome many conventional INTJ idiosyncrasies, I've actually grown a lot more warm hearted and willing to embrace and connect with people from all walks of life over the past years, I've also started to enjoy small talk and social situations, how bizarre!
     
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  18. aeon

    aeon Ooh, a bunny!
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    The INFP description describes me fairly well, and on most days, so does the ENFP description.

    Conform to those descriptions? :tongue: I'm just myself, description or not.


    cheers.
    Ian
     
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  19. Skathac

    Skathac <font color=#27A601>Community Member</font>

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    I took the type test shortly before I discovered this forum. Joining the forum was mainly to experience what interaction would be like with people of similar personality type. Conclusion thusfar is it is still a garbage in garbage out scenario, the type can give you an impression but people still only know what they have experienced or set out to learn. I'm not so focused on learning every single type and its explanation. Much more interested in sharing experiences with others and learning about theirs, if I can lend a helping hand or kind word in doing so then all the better.

    In general I try to improve aspects of myself that I find restrictive in the overall scheme of life without changing who I am, I don't know if that will change my type or not. I guess my feelings on that is if it does it does and if it doesn't it doesn't, still gotta breathe, eat, drink, and pay the bills.
     
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  20. Jonathan

    Jonathan Community Member

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    I think at first I kind of tried to analyze my whole life based on my being an INFJ. As I've spent more time here, I've moved away from that. I look at the cognitive functions not as rules to be followed or limitations, but to understand what I naturally tend to do in certain situations and why. I realized also that, as I have some things in common with other INFJs, our individual differences are strong. There are so many factors affecting a life, and no way that all of those factors can fit everyone into sixteen nice neat little boxes.
    I also look at type in terms of how I relate to others, and how others view the world. As I learned about thinking types and their real life motives and views, I was able to understand thier differences in communicating instead of getting offended. I just accept that, yes, they have tendencies to be blunt and/or somewhat removed from how people feel about a situation, but I know what their intention was.
    Knowing my type also helps me to understand the preferences I have in day to day life, and my needs. Like my need to be alone to recharge, or my need to be imaginative and help others. This has helped me to make some lifestyle choices that I'm much more comfortable with.
    I view being an INFJ as something that naturally fits my life. If it didn't, then I don't think there would really be a point to MBTI. No matter how I've changed, my type stays the same, not because I'm trying to make it, but because that's just the preferences in the way I think, and it's a constant thing.
     
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