Where Beauty “Lies”

img_3565.jpgI diverge from my writings on depth psychology today and revisit a concept I found in my notes from some years ago. It comes on the heels of a post I made on my artist blog concerning one of my paintings. I look in the mirror and I see gray hair beginning to peep out of my dark strands and yet, I’m okay with it. I may dye it, eventually,  if I don’t like the way it looks later on. But if I do, it’ll be my choice and not something that I feel pressured to do. However, like with many things, the voices in our world scream that we need to “fix” that gray hair, and instill fear that if our hair is gray, we are less attractive and if we are less attractive, then we are less valuable. 

We are daily bombarded with messages that we need to be slimmer, taller, prettier, smarter, richer, younger-looking; that we need newer gadgets, smart cars, smart phones, smart homes, and I-everthings. The internet tells us what to wear, what to eat, and where to go. We get the message that we need to have these things or do these things in order to have a better life, to be happier. I actually know women who will not walk out their front door without make-up, because they’re afraid someone might see them and reject them. I  want to tell them that make-up can’t make them beautiful or more acceptable. Beauty first has to come from inside.

It kind of reminds me of the story of Adam and Eve when the serpent told Eve she needed to bite the fruit because then she would be better. She would have something she didn’t already have, know something she didn’t already know. She would ‘move up in the world.’ Yet, Eve was already at the top and she already had all the knowledge she needed inside herself. All she had to do was trust the voice she already knew was true. But I don’t fault Eve. The liar was probably persistent, showing up day after day, looking good, charming, appealing, promising high rewards. The same thing happens to us all on a daily basis. The same lie, the lie that we “need” to obtain something to be worthy or better or just good enough, is being pitched to us all every single day and like Eve, we bite into it, and then offer the same critical lie to someone else. I believe happiness is found when we know our own worth and live according to our own values. In other words, we have to assert that we are ENOUGH and don’t need to bite into anything else. 

Somewhere in our pasts someone criticized us out of their own insecurities or thoughtlessness or ignorance; but the criticisms stick, the lie continues, the lie that says, “You’re not _______ enough.” The lie says that you need to do something, obtain something, to be better, to have more knowledge.

At the very least it is a lie that causes a woman to look in the mirror and turn away with a knot in her stomach, feeling that she isn’t–enough. I hear women make negative statements about themselves all of the time. They look at some woman in a magazine and compare themselves. The kind of beauty we see on television and in magazines is what some money hungry cooperation has designed to get more in their bank accounts. That’s why fashion is always changing. They want things to consistently be hard to obtain so that people will pay more to get it…and that includes everything from beautiful hair to buns of steel…anything to make money.

 

Now, I’m not advocating letting yourself go. I believe in being responsible for the house I  live in and not just letting it fall apart. Yes, we should try to eat right and get adequate sleep. We should exercise, but the belief that our value is tied up in our physical appearance or the things that we own, etc., is a lie. If that were so, beautiful young celebrities who “have it all” would not be overdosing or committing suicide.

 

Real beauty is  found with the inward adorning of the heart. It’s okay to look our best, to want to be pretty, but the mistake comes when we began to believe that our value is tied to our appearance or that anyone in this this world actually knows what true beauty looks like. Who gives “them” the right to define what is beautiful? Is not beauty in the eye of the beholder as the old saying goes? When we allow anyone to determine our value based on…anything…or when we believe that our value is determined by what we look like, what we have or what we can do…we believe the lie that we are not____enough.  It all comes down to who and what are we believe and our beliefs determine the quality of our lives, not our looks, not our bank accounts, not our popularity, but our beliefs. So, that is where beauty lies. 

Train Us in the Ways We Should Go

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People are different.

We are born with different natures. Nature means the way we are naturally “bent” or inclined. We each have our own set of natural strengths and weaknesses. The book of Proverbs talks about training a child in the way he or she should go. The words “way he should go” there, literally translates into the direction in which a person is “bent” or “inclined.” King Solomon, all those years ago, understood that each of us has a natural, God-given, inclination and that we should train each child according to his or her own unique inclination, help him or her develop strengths and overcome weaknesses, each of which is different in every person. There is not a one size fits all mold for human beings.

So, we could say that the word “train” refers to nurture. Solomon tells us to nurture each child according to his or her own specific nature.

Nurture means our environments, our relationships, our belief systems and our experiences. Two people with the same nature may be very different because their nurture is so varied. So, teachings we receive, the environment, relationships, religious beliefs, cultural beliefs and life experiences will affect the person we become. We could say that our nature is influenced by our nurture.

Problems come when we expect everyone else to live by our own “natural” value systems. In other words, if I naturally value structure and another person values unhindered exploration, we may have issues, unless we come to understand that and approach each other with the other person’s values in mind.  This is where depth psychology comes into play. You may not EVER understand the letters Jung used and what they signified, but anyone who can think can, if they try, understand that other people see the world differently and value different aspects of human nature.

We each have one of 16 sets of cognitive “preferences” or ways of thinking. Preferences means that we subconsciously gravitate toward in much the same way that each of us gravitates toward left-handedness or right-handedness.

****IF WE UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF A PERSON THEN THE TASK OF GETTING ALONG WITH THAT PERSON IS ALREADY 50% ACHIEVED. THEN ALL WE HAVE TO IS WORK ON THE NURTURE OF THAT PERSON.  When we understand the nature of a person, we are responsible to hold them to THEIR value system and not our own.

So having said that, here is a two word description of the basic nature of each of the sixteen types. (In depth psychology terms, it’s the dominant or hero function). This is what each of these types value and excel at.

ESTJ & ENTJ–thinking extraverted—ORDER & STRUCTURE

ISTJ & ISFJ–sensing introverted–SECURITY & STABILITY

ESFJ & ENFJ–extravert feeling–SOCIETY & MORALITY

ESTP & ESFP–sensing extraverted–EXPERIENCE & PIONEERING

ISTP & INTP–thinking introverted–LOGIC & PRECISION

INFP & ISFP–feeling introverted–INDIVIDUALITY & PERSONAL FREEDOM

ENTP & ENFP–iNtuition extraverted–EXPLORATION & TRANSFORMATION

INTJ & INFJ–iNtuition introverted–AUTONOMY & DISCOVERY

 

1 Person of each type who left a mark on this world:

  1. ESTJ–Billy Graham
  2. ENTJ–Carl Sagan
  3. ISTJ–Alexander Campbell (founder of Bethany College and the Church of Christ)
  4. ISFJ–Rosa Parks
  5. ESFJ–Harry Truman
  6. ENFJ–Martin Luther King Jr.
  7. ESTP–Winston Churchill
  8. ESFP–Hugh Hefner
  9. ISTP–Bruce Lee
  10. INTP–Einstein
  11. ENTP–Benjamin Franklin
  12. ENFP–Anne Frank
  13. INFP–Edgar Allen Poe
  14. ISFP–Jimmi Hendrix
  15. INTJ–C.S. Lewis
  16. INFJ–Thomas Jefferson

Meet Calvin, an INTP

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Ti=introverted thinking is the INTP’s superpower. This means that the INTP is gifted at logically dissecting and analyzing problems.
Ne=intuition extraverted is the parent function of the INTP and is where his/her responsibility lies. Ne in this position takes what Ti has perceived and analyzed and toys with possibilities of application.
Si=sensing introverted in the child position means that the INTP has a pure need for personal comfort. Unlike people who have Si in the hero position, in the child position, it means that the INTP needs to feel “safe” before they can be their true unguarded selves.
Fe=in the aspirational position means that INTPs often misinterpret what they others value or how they feel. It means that they aspire to make others happy and are let down when others are suddenly angry and lashing out at them. 

Calvin’s glasses are held together with electrical tape and he wears a hoodie and baggy jeans almost every day. He’s a quiet man most of the time except when he’s with his business partner, Eddie. The two of them constantly bounce ideas off each other. Calvin married right after college but the marriage fell through as Calvin did not do well with paying his bills, following a set schedule or showing up to work on time. When he did have money back then, he spent it on gaming equipment. His wife got tired of the bill collectors, food stamps and always being broke, so she left, thankful that they never had any children. So Calvin moved into the apartment above his parent’s garage and has been living there ever since.

Calvin started out as a clerk in a comic book store where he sold comics, figurines, gaming equipment and t-shirts to costumers, but when he met Eddie, the two of them discussed an idea for a particular kind of gaming software. Eddie had the money and the vision. Calvin had the ingenuity, so they partnered and eventually started their own company which is doing well, but Calvin has not bothered looking for a bigger or better house or more expensive clothing. He is content in his garage apartment so when he does spend money, it’s related to software development. Calvin doesn’t place a lot of value on the external world around him. His apartment is cluttered with wires, cables, computers, gaming paraphernalia and coffee cups.

Calvin seems to live and breathe to generate new ideas and improve upon the things he’s already developed. Existing rules or structures don’t mean much to Calvin when a new idea is born. He will by-pass the way things have always been done and pioneer a new, more innovative way. He approaches problems with skepticism, seeking patterns and logical explanations.

Calvin is a peaceful person and hates face-to-face conflict, although he is silently critical of others whom he deems as “unintelligent.” He often gets online at various forums, under different names, and “trolls” people. He says things to them just to get them going. In real life, he is conflict avoidant. He likes martial arts and can tell anyone all about the history of martial arts and all the best moves, but he would not engage in hand-to-hand combat because the one time that he did, a 100 pound Thai girl beat him up.

He doesn’t like to meet new people, usually, unless they are people who draw him in by discussing theories and ideas that appeal to him. Calvin doesn’t base his decisions on how he thinks others will feel about it or whether they will value it. His creativity tends to come in bursts of energy and he has to go with it when it hits. He may stay up until 3 a.m. or sleep until 3 p.m.

For Calvin it is important to express ideas and facts correctly. He expresses himself in what he considers truths and when he explains it to someone who isn’t an expert in the field he often forgets or doesn’t bother putting it into laymen’s terms. Thankfully, Eddie is strong in that area, of taking complicated things and putting them into simple terms, so Calvin leaves the public speaking to Eddie.

Calvin’s cognitive preferences are those of an INTP and while not all INTPs are just like Eddie, they do all have some things in common.

  1. INTPs see everything from an analytical point of view.
  2. INTPs cannot help but be logical.
  3. INTPs see possibilities and need to play around with them.
  4. INTPs are unaware of why others can’t see things more logically.
  5. INTPs want to be left alone to work or to work with a like-minded person.
  6. INTPS enjoy discussing theories and ideas.
  7. INTPs struggle with rigid structure.

 

 

 

Who’s Sitting in My Chair?

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I recently found the following draft from a post I intended to publish in 2011, a month after my dad died. For some reason, I never published it. I thought it was fitting to post it now, in the midst of my Depth Psychology Series, even though it was written before I was well-versed in MBTI or Depth Psychology. I do hope you enjoy. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

April 2011

I’m a writer and an artist.

I have discovered that whether I’m writing about a person, a character, or painting a person’s face, there is one thing I must do. I must really SEE the person.

I don’t mean that I have to notice the color of his hair or eyes, but I must really SEE. I have to determine what makes that woman in my chair, her. What characteristic makes that man, him.

Sometimes I portray a distant sadness, a longing in the eyes, sometimes…pride, self-importance and sometimes, a free and generous spirit. Sometimes a sketch ends up projecting a sense of wandering, longing. Often a person will sit in my chair and in ten minutes time tell me his or her entire life story. There is a comfort in having a stranger draw your face, much in the same way that there is a comfort in sitting next to a stranger on a bus or an airplane.

As an artist, I often feel like a bit of a palm reader. I have to look into a face and discover what line, what shadow or smudge, portrays the depth of a person’s character and if I leave it out or add what is not there, then I loose something.

It’s not so much an emotional experience. I suppose it can be, but it’s more like a revelation. I think drawing is a spiritual experience, not a religious one. Pencil on paper is honest and it’s hard to mask. Not everyone will sit in my chair. Some people are afraid to see themselves through the eyes of another. Some people are too self-important. Some just aren’t into art. Some just have ants in their pants and can’t sit for ten minutes.

Another thing being an artist has afforded me is a fly-on-the-wall view of people. Often times when I paint murals in a public place, people come and go without so much as realizing I’m there. I hear their conversations, pick up on body-language, and other things that I would not maybe notice if they were in conversation with me.

Whether I’m painting in a resturaunt, a school, a church, a business or drawing faces at a festival, pow-wow or some other type of gathering, I have come to understand that inevitably I will encounter the following types of people:

1. The-Whatever-People. These folks follow trend. They make up the vast majority. They don’t want to stand out, or think too deeply. They worry about being branded as weird, yet, they secretly want to confide their hopes, fears and life details to someone. They are usually good-hearted, hard-working people. They just want to be reminded that they have value.

2. The -I’m-More-Powerful-or-Spiritual–Than-You-or-Anyone-Else-Here-People. I call them the Moses Wannabes, because they want a crowd of followers. I’ve met them in churches VERY often. They are the ones who exert power over others, who tell me what I should or shouldn’t wear or whether or not my motives are “righteous”. They are the self-appointed gaurdians of everybody’s lives and the ones who rejoice to know that all the “unworthy” are gonna one day get what’s coming to ’em. They know more scripture or are somehow more equipped by God to tell me what it all means. They are the ones who expect people to follow them. And, of course, at Pow-wows, they are the ones who self-proclaim to know the “Old Ways” better than any of the rest of us and they are also the ones that get mad and storm off like a child when someone doesn’t swoon over them or asked them a question which they can’t answer [um, yeah, I do that sometimes]. They seem to gain energy from other people by exuding some type of control over them. I guess, in some ways, they are intimidators. They control by lording over others. They are dictators at heart.

2. The “Lone Wolf” People, this is usually the I’m-so-cool tough guy, you-can’t-touch-this type or the “Redneck Woman” (like from the song)  kind of woman. These people are usually putting up a big front to mask the insecure child they still are on the inside. They’re usually full of a life lived in pain, fearful of rejection and terrified of being ridiculed and embarrassed, so they put up a front. Often, when they know they can trust me, the front falls. I meet a lot of biker, redneck types who are like this. I meet a lot of women who are like this. They often cuss and talk bold. They sometimes brag about fighting, but sometimes they tell me stories that tell me that they are fragile and vulnerable. They don’t want pity. They want someone to say to them that they are brave spirits. They are still searching. Their pretense isn’t to gain power over others. It is merely to protect themselves from pain and hurt and from those who want to exert power over them.

3. The I’m-a-Mystery-so-Notice-Me People. This is, I hate to say it, often the artist. Sometimes when I go to art festivals I will encounter artists who feel they don’t need to actually “talk” to you. They can just drift around, being all mysterious, because they get some kind of pleasure from people trying to find out about them. Seriously. I meet a lot of musicians like that, too (and oddly enough…mechanics) Sometimes, these folks will try to be all “mystical” and “super spiritual”. I don’t know what the deal is except that having a Merlin persona somehow gives them a boost of energy. Then there are the ones who are self-sacrificers because looking super humble and meek makes them feel more spiritual which in turn really feeds their ego.

4. Then there is the I’m Smarter Than You People. No matter what subject you bring up they know more about it. They are the “experts” on everything and rarely shut up long enough to learn anything. Whatever topic I bring up, they twist it back to their own topic of choice and ask me questions so they can prove how much more they know. They get power from imparting information, whether it’s correct or not. They just have to know that they know more than I do. So, I let them believe they do, because informing them otherwise might destroy their fragile selves.

5. There are the Poor-Me-Feel-Sorry-for-Me-Because-My-Life-Sucks People. These are the ones who gripe and complain and tell me all of their woes, their angst. It gives them a sense of power when someone feels sorry for them and it feeds them, at least for a little while. They have predetermined that their lives are full of negativity and it makes them feel good to know that they feel worst than the next person.

6. Finally, there are the Genuinely Rare People Every once in a while, I will encounter these rare gems. There are people wandering around out there, some who have endured great hardships, others who have not, yet they do not need anyone to pity them, nor do they need to be in charge, or to know more or to feel they are more spiritual. They do not need put on a show or try to prove how tough they are, because they KNOW who they are. They are like sparrows and dragonflies, they just exist and go through life being what they were created to be and doing what they were created to do. They aren’t afraid to laugh or smile or cry. Nothing is done for a show or to gain dominance over others and upon these people rests the responsibility to let others see that when you know what is true and you act on what is true then you are free.

They have no need to control because they have no fear of being controlled. They have no need to dominate because they have no fear of being dominated. They are the people who have learned the secret–the one who lets go, gains all and that the one who holds on too tightly ends up empty-handed.

They are not religious. They are not prideful. They do not feel that they have prominence over others and whenever one of these people happens to be a leader, they understand that being a leader means never asking another to do what you would not do yourself. It means never lording your posisition over others just for the sake of feeling important, not proclaiming yourself more annointed, or spiritual, or needed. They understand that each of us is a spoke in the wheel of life and no one spoke is more important than another.

 

Meet Adrian, an ENTP

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Ne=Intuition extraverted sees connections, makes inferences, deciphers patterns and toys with connections. This function is the ENTPs superpower and is in the hero position. 
Ti=Thinking introverted sees inconsistencies in logic, analyzes and fits information into an internal framework. This is the ENTP’s parent function and is where his or her responsibility lies. The ENTP will always look for the underlying truth in any situation or problem because that is where their “parent function” is at. 
Fe=Feeling extraverted cares how you feel and what you value. It is in the ENTP’s child position, meaning that the ENTP has pure desire to make others feel good and happy. It is what makes ENTPs some of the greatest givers. And coupled with the Ne hero (which is unpredictable and playful itself, Fe child makes ENTPs delightfully humorous and playful at times.)
Si=Sensing introverted in the aspirational position means that ENTPs need to a “place” where they feel secure and comfortable. 

Adrian is fun, optimistic and outgoing, he doesn’t need the approval of others. Yet, he needs a certain kind of others. He needs to be around smart people, people who are interested in the metaphysical side of life and people who are open to trying new things. He isn’t afraid of valid criticism and actually welcomes it if it will enrich his life in the long run. His feelings are not easily hurt. However, when someone lashes out at him emotionally and without objective reasoning, he finds himself mirroring their anger. On the flip side, when he is around jovial people, he finds it easier to be jovial himself. He needs stimulating, in-depth and lively conversations. He needs someone to extravert his ideas with and discuss possibilities and implications. He needs someone to dream with.

He is a master of boundary pushing, and tends to provoke arguments out of others. He can usually justify what they think or say better than they can but he wants to know how they came to see things the way they do. This helps him “grow” and invariably increases his ability to fix or improve things.

Adrain is a giver and has a large circle of many interesting people in his life. Having to endure boring, sameness and stagnation are torturous to Adrian.

In conversations, Adrian doesn’t have to hear the whole story to get the picture. Making inferences and drawing analogies are his superpowers and so is coming up with new ideas. Those who work under him often complain that he changes things just to be changing them and actually, that’s true.  He constantly toys with ideas and relationships.  He tends to shift situational dynamics and trusts that something good will come out of it. Every piece of data, every experience or external stimuli leads him to make inferences, draw analogies, come up metaphors, jokes and more new ideas.

It is hard to manipulate Adrian, because he has a gift for guessing the details and is adept at “what if” scenarios. He has a lot of mental energy and often entertains multiple ideas and meanings at once.  He is proficient at weighing the odds, at categorizing, and seems to separate his feelings, his body and his mind when he is arguing or having a discussion. This separation is not to be “mean” to others. Most of the time, he is only throwing out ideas or intentionally trying to get others to “think” and make their lives better or bigger. He wants people to grow and he wants to grow himself and often this flies in the face of accepted social constructs and traditions. That’s not to say he doesn’t need “some” tradition. He still tears up every Christmas when he sees a red poinsettia, remembering how his mom always put them the hearth and how they gathered around and sang carols.

His objectivity and need to “push” the limits often translates into mentally, verbally and emotionally pushing others to the edge of their comfort zones and results in some people backlashing him. Because of these adverse reactions to efforts to help others grow and move forward in life, he has learned to cover up what he really thinks at times, and most certainly, what he feels. Therefore, some members of his family and co-workers have accused him of being deceptive. He is wounded when his attempts to help or give to others turns to criticism and backlash. He wants to give people joy, to see them happy.

Adrian’s cognitive preferences are those of an ENTP and although not all ENTPs will be exactly like Adrian, they do all have certain characteristics.

  1. ENTPs are witty and innovative.
  2. ENTPs hate boredom and stagnation.
  3. ENTPs do not like rigid structure and systems.
  4. ENTPs seek out and need life experiences.
  5. ENTPs are path finders and givers, seeking to help others be the best they can be.
  6. ENTPs are open-minded.
  7. ENTPs have a wide variety of hobbies, interests and talents.

 

Meet Willow, an INFJ

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The cognitive preferences of INFJs are:

Ni-introverted intuition in the hero position is perspective-shifting in that it is constantly at work on a subconscious level, sorting through information that comes in via the five senses or some unconscious means, giving the INFJ (INTJs, too), the ability to see things from many different angles and viewpoints at once. Ni is the NJs’ superpower, giving them insight into relationships, imagination, originality, ingenuity and visions of what not only could be but the road to take to get there.

Fe-feeling that’s extraverted in the parent position is where the INFJ’s responsibility lies. Whenever INFJs experience the sensation that the values of others are being violated, this function steps in and reminds them that they have a responsibility to the well-being and happiness of others. Fe is aware of what matters to others and how others feel. Coupled with a hero Ni, this means that INFJ is always subjected to having to balance what they see as best and what they want (Ni) with the consequential effects on others.

Ti-in the child position means that the INFJ has a form of pure logic, that when unhampered by interfering Fe, and in service to heroic Ni, can devise a plan to accomplish, basically anything in a step-by-step manner. It also means that INFJs may get so focused on what they think that they fail to listen to the advice or thoughts of others.

Se-extraverted sensing in the aspirational position may mean that INFJs worry about giving others a bad experience or doing something that cause physical harm to others. Yet, on a positive note, it serves as a release valve for the mental energy consumed by massive use of Ni and Ti. When young, INFJs may be so distracted by the never ceasing noise in their heads that they forget where they’re going or walk into something but as they move out of adolescence, they may become physically involved with any number of sports or physical activities.

Meet Willow, an INFJ

Willow is a writer. She takes long walks. She needs time to think. Time to hear her “own heart.”

Thinking helps her determine what she is feeling and why she feels that way. Thinking helps her make sense of her world.  She is strategic in almost everything she does and tends to see patterns on a subconscious level. She also understands many things without ever having officially learned them and may not be able to recall how she knows them.

Willow has a keen sense of personal direction and is led by something that can only be likened to an internal guidance system.  She can’t explain it no matter how hard she tries. She hates being asked personal questions, and she hates having to explain her past or why she chooses certain things. Her greatest personal intention is to live with integrity and authenticity. She constantly struggles with what she sees as the right path for her own life and what others want and expect from her.

Willow has an undaunting and tenacious will power and even when emotionally distraught, or physically in pain, she will press forward on behalf of something she values and believes in, especially if the well-being of another is involved. She has been known to literally lay her life on the line for the sake of others.

Willow has a beautiful sense of humor and can make people laugh at the drop of a pin. Wherever she goes, people flock to her. They say she is like a light entering the room and makes others feel good about themselves when she is with them. Friends say that Willow is inspiring and they feel connected to her. Willow feels good when she makes others feel good, however, she often feels drained, like people have some sort of invisible energy IV hooked to her, trying to siphon off her life energy. Even when she tries to be alone, people find her.

Friends and family will often ask her to do things she doesn’t really believe in or want to do, yet she has an incredibly hard time saying no and wrestles daily with requests from other people.  She constantly feels torn between being true to herself and maintaining harmony with others. Willow’s greatest fears are that she will irreparably damage another person by following her own passions and she is very passionate internally while remaining calm on the surface most of the time.

With a high IQ the ability to speak multiple languages, paint, dance, sing, write and learn anything she sets her mind to, Willow is gifted, yet has struggled with her self-worth many times, feeling that it is somehow her responsibility to make everyone happy, to fix their problems and take away their pain without judging them for anything they did or didn’t do to cause that pain in the first place. Her best friend tells her that she has unreasonable expectations of herself and is too hard on herself, while letting other people get off easy.

She struggles with mechanical aptitude and her family laughed at her struggle to learn to drive. She struggles with Si dominate skills like keeping up with binders, folders, data etc. Willow feels this stuff is pointless. She can keep up with stuff in her head. Why does she need all that clutter in her physical world? Clutter and conflict make her physically ill. She really just wants to be left alone and allowed to work in her own way most of the time.

That’s not to say she doesn’t like structure, she does, somewhat. It just needs to be a lose structure with room for spurts of creativity. She dreams of travel and adventure and writes historical fiction with intricate characters, twisting plots and many subplots. Willow is highly observant of human interactions and intuitively understands unspoken motives. She bases her interactions with others on what she picks up off them, not what they show on the surface.

The ”mundane” things of life are a weight around her neck. She longs for escape from the ordinary day in and day out routines of life, and often finds it through her fantastic imagination.

She is always prioritizing. Above all things, Willow wants to leave behind something that makes the world a more enlightened place. She wants to help open the spiritual eyes of others and feels this is her highest call in life. That is why she writes, to communicate a truth that is bigger and far more reaching than her immediate circle. She wants to leave a legacy of what it means to live for something bigger than one’s immediate needs.

Willow has the cognitive preferences of an INFJ and while not all INFJs are the same, they do all share some characteristics:

  1. INFJs know things without knowing how they know them.
  2. INFJs see many angles at the same time.
  3. INFJs feel responsible for the experiences and feelings of others.
  4. INFJs have a pure logic with the ability to analyze and synthesis on a subconscious level.
  5. INFJs need a loose but dependable structure.
  6. INFJs are strategic yet they are movement oriented (they get bored with stagnation and seek adventure.)
  7. INFJs are creative.

Meet Tony, an ENFJ

 

man lying on floor
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The cognitive preferences of ENFJs are:

Fe–in the hero position means that they are heroically aware of the values and feelings of others. It’s the first thing they pick up when in any environment. It’s their superpower.

Ni–in the parent position means that they are responsible for their purpose, goal, intent and desire. Ni in this position, coupled with Fe in the hero position, positions ENFJs to be the world’s best con-artists, ministers, public speakers and entertainers. (realize that any type can enter any field or occupation but ENFJs are gifted in these areas.)

Se-in the child position means that ENFJs sincerely want others to have a good experience, to be comfortable. It also means they have a childlike need to be in the moment which further serves to make them great entertainers, etc. It causes others to automatically feel at ease in their presence.

Ti-is in their aspirational position and this means that they aspire to really analyze and understand things. It also means that they may not always listen to reason and when upset can become irrational, accusing others of thinking things they have no proof of.

Tony is empathetic, compassionate and sincerely kind. He is soulful and sensitive and has such an intense need to mentor and nurture that he volunteers to take a missionary trip to a particular village in Haiti every year just before Christmas where he will deliver books, crayons, pencils and other items to children. He does puppet skits for them and tells them Bible stories. These trips are the highlight of Tony’s life. He feels it is his purpose in life to bring hope to Haiti. He saves his money all year for the trip. He works craft festivals all summer, selling various items he has made in order to fund his trip. He set up a “go fund me” page and gets a few pledges there, but nowhere near enough. So, Tony makes the sacrifices himself in order to accomplish what he believes in and what he believes in is helping the children of Haiti. He wants to make a mark in that country.

Tony has been married two times. The first wife said his personality was too strong and that he was too devoted to his goals. She said she couldn’t compete with “the poor children of Haiti,” and she left. His second wife became jealous of Tony after a performance of the Lion King at a local theatre. She wasn’t jealous of Tony and another woman. She was jealous of all the attention and adoration he was getting. She felt threatened. Now, single with no children, Tony prays that one day a woman with as much passion and desire to help others will come his way. He also hopes she’ll be fit and strong, because that matters to him, as well. He has plenty of female suitors but most of them can’t handle the strength of Tony’s commitment to his life’s “calling.” And if there’s one thing Tony is sure of, it’s that he can’t give up his calling or back down on his commitment to the children of Haiti for anyone.

When Tony walks into a room, he lights it up. Everyone notices him. He is warm, charming, funny, wears interesting clothes and people flock to him. They love to be in his presence. Tony loves other people and he also enjoys the attention he gets from other people. He’s not a narcissist by any means, he is completely concerned about others but he loves to be loved. He has found an outlet for this paradox of his nature by acting. He has tried many different occupations, but theatre allows him to explore his own personality and still connect with others. It allows him to adore his audience and his audience to adore him, without feeling guilt over having others admire him. It’s also a platform. Tony gets invited to speak a many events and it’s from the stage that he can talk about the plight of the children in Haiti while he simultaneously makes people laugh and feel good about themselves.

Off-Stage, Tony enjoys deep and meaningful conversations about the things that matter in life, eternal things, spiritual things, world-shaking things, religion, politics and scientific discoveries. If Tony finds a person interesting, he will make a special attempt to get to know that person better. He will ask questions to uncover the person’s dreams, ambitions and passions. Tony makes others feel wanted and appreciated. He makes them feel special. His twin brother, Timothy, has the same abilities, but Timothy is a con-artist who uses his gifts for reading people to swindle them out of money. Tony prefers the route of a performing missionary and wants to change the world in a good way.

For all his passion and warmth and intelligence, Tony doesn’t do small talk. He gets bored with surface conversation. However, he loves listening to others talk about what he considers “real” issues and he is excellent at providing direction. His friends have nicknamed him “Male Oprah.”

While Tony is just ONE of many possible manifestations of an ENFJ, keep in mind that all ENFJs have some things in common:

  1. ENFJs care how others feel.
  2. ENFJs are responsible for their own goals in life. No one else will lay out their future for them or tell them what they want. They KNOW what they want and what they have to do to get it.
  3. ENFJs are keenly aware of what looks good, what provides others with a good experience (or a bad one). Some may be into physical fitness of any variety, especially as they get older.
  4. ENFJs can be doggedly stubborn and determined. I have heard them called “contrary” on more than one occasion.
  5. ENFJs don’t give up on what they see as the right path for them. If a door closes, they will knock out a window.
  6. If you want to appeal to an ENFJ, appeal to their heart by telling them how you feel. They care more about what values you hold dear than about what you think.
  7. ENFJs are usually altruistic and sincere.