Who are we deep inside? Well, there are several answers to this question, some that delve far deeper than others. I'm not going to share some of the deeper answers I know, for experience has enhanced my natural talent for individual cynicism. If you'd like to know more about *those* answers, inquire within.
But as far as what each of us has within in regards to our personality types; is all of us what lies on the surface? If you Google your own four letters and see posters with limericks and characters mistyped by stereotype, is that all there is to know about you? Who comes out in the times that you're angry, sad or with your best friend? Who is there to know that the world doesn't see?
Now, please don't confuse what I'm talking about with the Freudian idea of an Id... or "Sid" as I like to call it (Sig isn't as catchy or poignant), which is the idea of your carnal nature; your impulses and base desires run wild. It's often implied by "deep thinking" psychologists and philosophers, that Mr. Sid is who we really are and that if we try to fight it, we're simply lying to ourselves (strike dramatic pose here). Seriously, if you haven't found greater happiness or cognition than a dog that humps a mailbox by the time you reach adolescence, there's something seriously wrong with you...which isn't to say it's uncommon. That being said, if you've reached adulthood and haven't gotten past your ego or superego stage, please don't leave me a comment because I might have to shove a pencil in my eye. You can be pretty sure that people who want to preach that the only motivations in life are sex, greed or vapid cultural pressure are trying to validate their own lack of higher brain function. Neither philosophy nor psychology is about trying to prove how much better you are than other people because you haven't learned basic human abilities yet.
No, I'm talking about being, as Shrek says, like an onion. Humanity is insanely complex. Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger (which, second to Robert McKee's Story, is my favorite writing reference) refers to "consistencies and paradoxes" of character. That is to say that a person is what we expect... until they're not. We think we know a person until they surprise us; and yet the way that they surprise us is something that ends up painting a better picture of the person as a whole. This is what makes people rock beyond reason! There's always more.
So, when people are an infinitely complex blend of ups, downs, ins, outs and sideways-es, how can we quantify them... or should we? Well, considering this blog, I guess you see what I think. Quantifying people, without oversimplifying them (very important), is a way to understand them and know how to love/like/help/use them to their fullest. The sixteen MBTI personality types are a huge leap ahead in doing that and certainly vastly surpass the four humors or jock/geek models of labeling. While two individuals of the same personality type may be vastly different (I pride myself on not being Disney's Hades, for example), they will cognate in the same pattern and specialize in the same category, such as ENTP's focus on people-potential and INTJ's focus on world-potential.
But you know what's really cool? These sixteen type patterns aren't just a surface-y thing. They actually create a pattern that shows who you are when those enigmatic parts of you come out. Whether you're usually quiet and reserved, until someone hurts the person you care about and then you protect them like a lion, or if you're usually cold and utilitarian, until you fall in love and give someone pieces of your heart; it's all coded there in your letters. Who is this person who bursts out of your mind and heart in times of vulnerability? Who are you when you don't have to protect yourself? This is your paradoxical self, the part of you that seems to contradict the rest, and yet on closer inspection is really true; this is your "Paradoxitype."
How do you know what your Paradoxitype looks like? Well, you may have met them before. Step right up and meet your inner psyche. Just be nice!
The pattern seems to be: flip everyone except N/S.
That's right; your inner self, my friend, is *almost* completely opposite of your normal letters, except he or she (not saying *that's* flipped, although some days I feel like a teenage boy inside) keeps his or her abstract or linear way of processing the world. Like most formulas, this has complex results when applied. Like so...
INFP and ENTJ
The INFP may be a good listener who likes to keep to themselves and has an active imagination (as any personality page will tell you), but in their hearts, they're crusaders. They care ardently about the way things are going and will rise to the occasion and stand up for what they believe in if they deem it necessary, and even when they don't say it, they'll be thinking it.
ENTJ's are pretty much *always* fighting for their cause or vision, but the rare times you can access their heart, you may find inside something quiet and sweet... and often times a little nerdy. And you just may be able to get them to tell you why what they fight for is so important to them in the first place; not the posters they paste across the world or the engraving on their sword, but the emotional reason they don't tell most people. And it's a special sight to see :)
ISFP and ESTJ
ISFP's usually like to go with the flow, enjoy things, explore everything the world has to offer, and are very protective of what their emotions say, but when they hear the call, they can go into action with a utilitarian calm and get the job done with fervor and necessary callousness.
ESTJ gets it done and gets it done right, but hidden beneath the no-nonsense, function over form mentality, is a sense of romanticism and passion. They often have goofy senses of humor and a love for poetic details... but don't push it.
INTP and ENFJ
INTP's pride themselves on knowing their facts, understanding and analyzing data, but when you get them to open up, they long to share what they've uncovered because, deep down, they want their fact-finding and solution-discovery to contribute to a bigger picture. They want their actions to have meaning and, although it's one of the most common atheist types, if they don't choose to find a higher power on purpose, deifying other fact-finders is almost imminent.
ENFJ's are caring teachers who love people indistinguishably from themselves, but they are usually worlds more aware than they let on about what is going on and why. Get them to share what's really going on inside their minds and you might be surprised what incisive things they understand. They hate de-friending anyone, but don't think they don't notice when something stupid's going on.
ISTP and ESFJ
ISTP's may be snarky, withdrawn and skeptical, but they long to be respected and loved for the insights and skills that they uniquely offer. They work so hard at what they do and what they love and they just want that to be acknowledged and appreciated. They know they're special... if they could just get others to see it... When they let themselves loose, they can have in-your-face flair and color with calculated flourish and pizzazz.
|If you don't know the story, she's not the green one.|
ESFJ's love to bring their group together, rallying them by their upbeat and vivacious example, but they have a biting side that comes out when they're angry or when the things they care about are in jeopardy. They're more protective of their quiet hearts than one might think.
ENTP and INFJ
ENTP's may be at the ready with a sarcastic comment and a mischievous grin, but more than anything, they long to be heroic. They may use humor... and, okay, maybe a little sex appeal, as defence mechanisms (plus, it's fun!), but inside they're protecting a love of archetype and principle, and they long to do and be good... but with flair, of course.
|"Maybe I need an image makeover..." [dark and gravelly voice] "I'm Spiderman."|
INFJ's tend to be constantly mistyped. I honestly wonder if it's why there's statistically so few of them. You'll usually hear them described as wholesome boy-scouts who care about good causes like donating to orphans or adopting kittens. In practice... um, no... just no. While they do care about doing the right thing, it's in a dynamic do-what-works ENTP sort of way. If they're given permission to be themselves, which they struggle with, they can be snarky, outgoing and constantly unexpected.
ESTP and ISFJ
ESTP's may brazenly live in the moment, self-assured and insolent, but their cavalier attitude protects a deeper desire to be noble vanquishers of evil, kicking its butt and being there for those who can't defend themselves. Though they're unlikely to abide by rules unless they understand their applicability, they do have a strong underlying sense of justice, fairness and chivalry and a desire to set out to set things right.
They may be the poster boy for be-there-when-you-need-them, but ISFJ's also have the capacity to be daring, risky, self-confident and adaptable. All this plus a literal, cheeky sense of humor when they let it out, they can be immensely multi-faceted.
ENFP and INTJ
ENFP's understand the value of people, are charmingly vulnerable and wear their hearts on their sleeves, but underneath all that they have a calculated, principle-based vision of the world and a dry, satirical sense of humor. When they need to, they can be unyieldingly decisive and commanding.
INTJ's are masterminds and world-visionaries, but under their cold and precise perfectionism, there lies a sweet and silly side of them. Get them to open up and they're likely to be child-like, soft and remarkably docile inside.
ESFP and ISTJ
Though they tend to be fun incarnate and as off-the-wall as you can get, ESFP's are very protective of the people who bring them their joy and of the world they love to explore. If put in a position where they see the need, ESFP's can lay down the law and give a proper tongue-lashing or go into battle-mode to protect the things that matter most.
An ISTJ and her INTP brother, ladies and gentlemen. (Can't take credit for this amazing set of gifs.)ISTJ Dancing Monica (ESFP at Heart)
Perhaps one of my favorite Paradoxitypes to recognize, because while ISTJ's are the protectors and champions of justice and duty, get them to let their shields down and ISTJ's have hilariously goofy senses of humor. Some of my favorite memories growing up were the times I could get my ISTJ big sister to be silly (I hope she still remembers "Slap Happy," "Ken's Nudie-Tighties" and "No Bowling Alleys in the House").
All F's have a T inside that teaches them to stand up, strong. All T's have an F inside... whether we like it or not ;) that we need to stop protecting with our very lives. We have emotions. It's our dirty little secret; shh!
I'd like to add that I've noticed romantic trends between types and their inner types, like ESTP and ISFJ or INTP and ENFJ. Also common is one-offs from that match, like ISTJ's and ENFP's (I've noticed quite a few), or someone who fulfills that same inner desire, like ESTP's with ENTJ's (also fairly common) since a crusader is a lot like a knight in purpose. While lots of types trend together and any two types *could* make it work, it makes sense that people tend to gravitate to and identify with ones who represent those secret parts of themselves and are likely to cherish that other side of them. That's what I got. Awww!
The heroic versions of all our types embrace this other side of themselves, this Paradoxitype. Real heroes aren't afraid to go outside their comfort zone, whatever that may be. Our favorite characters are the ones that we see both sides of.
When we're not in touch with this other side of ourselves, we feel stifled and are unable to be the full version of our outer self. We end up closed off to the world around us and a restricted paper-tiger of what we want to be. It's also common for people to resent those who are the same personality as their inner type, wishing to be what they know is within them, and yet feeling like they could never be free to be as bold/noble/fun/effective as their counterpart, not realizing they have this potential within them all along.
As we go forward and embrace both our type and our Paradoxitype, we can finally become the complex, dynamic person we were always meant to be.