The Myers-Briggs Indicator — Its Advantages and its Limitations

3 Mar

If you are a reader of my blog, you will note several articles on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It is definitely a well-proven instrument to aid individuals from all walks of life and in all career and life situations discover who they are.

I will be writing more about the other categories of opposites (Sensing versus Intuition and Feeling versus Thinking) in the near future. For right now, though, I want to emphasize its advantages and its limitations.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator generates 16 different and unique personality types. Each of these “portraits” helps people identify their preferences in four areas:

• Extrovert-Introvert: Where we get our energy from, either inside ourselves; or from events, people, and things outside ourselves
• Sensing-Intuition: How we perceive the world, either in detail and in the present moment; or in a broad panorama of information which is future-oriented
• Feeling-Thinking: How we make our decisions, either using personal values such as courage, compassion, etc.; or using impersonal, universally accepted values, such as in doing mathematical equations.
• Judging-Perceiving: Our daily life style preference, either we prefer being organized, goal-directed, and having a well-kept calendar; or we prefer being spontaneous, going with the flow, and totally devoting ourselves to an immediate interest or project.

Now, knowing these things about yourself, and especially being able to put them all together into a “portrait,” is definitely helpful. It will surely influence how you choose a satisfying career, how you choose friends or a significant other, and what kinds of activities or people you choose to avoid.

But I want to caution my readers that the MBTI is not all there is to understanding yourself and your relationships. You need to understand the major influences upon your early life so that you can know what beliefs you may have internalized. Some of these may be helpful, others not so much. You need to know whether your brain operates a little differently from others. For example, if you have ADD or ADHD, you are probably highly distractable, may be impulsive, and may even hyperfocus on an activity currently at hand. If you have an addictive personality, you may switch addictions. Thus, if you are in recovery from alcoholism, you may switch to smoking or overeating or gambling, sexual addiction, addictive shopping, or any other of numerous addictions.

You also need to know how you are functioning in your current relationships. As couples, we often get into dysfunctional dynamics. Some of these patterns may be

1. One person in the relationship overfunctioning and the other underfunctioning.
2. One person pursuing while the other retreats.
3. One person feeling depressed while the other tries to rescue him/her.
4. One partner being a spender, the other a saver.

These are just a few of the patterns we can get into BUT about which we can communicate and improve our relationships.

More next time!

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